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Examining the impact of COVID-19 on Scottish airports

After a turbulent year for airports, MPs are launching an inquiry exploring the impact COVID-19 has had on Scottish airports, their local communities, and environmental concerns.

Scotland

The Scottish Affairs Committee has launched a new inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on airports in Scotland.

The inquiry will focus around the airports themselves, and the impacts of COVID-19 upon the local communities surrounding them, as well as environmental concerns.

The Committee is keen to explore the impact COVID-19 has had on communities using airports in Scotland. This includes the effect on tourism, how airports support their local and regional job markets, and questions concerning investment in infrastructure around airports in Scotland. Looking forward, the Committee also wants to examine how airspace modernisation will affect Scottish airports.

Glasgow Airport saw a drop in passenger numbers of over three quarters last year compared to 2019, and many airlines ceased operating temporarily during the height of the pandemic. Meanwhile, many airports in rural communities had to stay open for emergency services, key industry workers and cargo for crucial supplies. The inquiry also seeks to find out how effective the movement of air freight for essential supplies in rural or isolated airports is.

In the year of COP26, the Committee is also keen to explore the impact environmental policies are having on airports, and in particular what schemes there are to reduce the carbon footprint of airports. 

Looking forward, the Committee also wants to examine how airspace modernisation will affect Scottish airports.

“Airports in Scotland are a lifeline for many rural communities, and for people travelling to different parts of the UK and further afield,” commented Scottish Affairs Committee Chairman, Pete Wishart.  

“In a turbulent 18 months for airports with the COVID-19 pandemic, our Committee is keen to explore what impact reduced numbers of flights have had on communities, and how this has impacted the local job market. In the year of Scotland hosting COP26, and appetite to tackle harmful emissions, we are also seeking evidence on how the carbon footprint of airports can be reduced.”   

The Committee is inviting written submissions by 6 October.

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