A consolidation plan to ensure that Scotland’s Edinburgh Airport remains open and operational during the COVID-19 pandemic has been put into action.
Enforced travel bans across the world have resulted in airlines dramatically reducing their schedules to and from Scotland, directly affecting passenger numbers at the airport. There was a small drop in passengers in February, with 935,455 passengers passing through the airport, which was 0.4% behind February 2019. However, the airport is predicting a period of zero or close-to-zero passenger demand.
To protect as many jobs possible and ensure it is open throughout, Edinburgh has implemented a consolidation plan which will also form part of its recovery plan, ensuring that the airport is ready to return to full operations at the end of the outbreak.
This plan includes: terminal consolidation, with certain areas closed, and the centralization of operations; deferring expenditure on some capital projects; and powering down high consuming energy items such as elements of the baggage system and heating and cooling systems in parts of the airport that are closed. A number of the airport’s retailers and F&B outlets are also to suspend operations.
“This is an unprecedented time not only for the aviation industry but for everyone as we all do what we can to ensure the health of ourselves and of those around us. For us, that includes the health of our airport. Our plan is based on keeping the airport open throughout and being there for those people who are still traveling and those staff members who are making that travel possible,” said Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport.
The airport has welcomed announcements by the UK and Scottish governments on financial support for the sector through this situation.
Dewar added, “We welcome the collaboration there has been with both governments at this critical time, but we will need continued support to ensure that the aviation industry is able to play its part in the country’s economic recovery. Along with other UK airports, we ask both governments to come together and show unity and support with the industry to help us weather this storm and come out of it still standing and ready to move forward again.”