Tumbling passenger numbers at Scottish airports including Dundee and Edinburgh have prompted a parliamentary inquiry.
Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee has launched an investigation into:
- The effect of Covid-19 on airports
- How falling numbers of flights have affected local communities
- Environmental concerns
Passenger numbers in Dundee dropped to fewer than 5,000 in 2020/21 during successive waves of Covid-19 restrictions.
News of the inquiry comes ahead of strikes planned for Thursday, July 29 affecting Highlands and Islands Airports, including Dundee and Inverness.
Staff are striking over a dispute concerning centralising all air traffic controllers out of local airports, including Dundee, and moving them to Inverness.
Larger airports have also struggled badly during the pandemic.
Edinburgh Airport handled less than 3.5m passengers in 2020 — a 76% reduction on the previous year.
Edinburgh Airport’s management has estimated the fall cost the Scottish economy around £1bn and over 21,000 jobs during the same period
But environmentalists have warned that returning to a pre-pandemic level of flights is not sustainable and will undermine work to cut emissions.
SNP Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart is the Scottish Affairs Committee chairman.
He said: “Airports in Scotland are a lifeline for many rural communities, and for people travelling to different parts of the UK and further afield.
“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.”