The boss of Glasgow Airport claims Nicola Sturgeon has today sent a message that the aviation industry is “not a priority” for the Scottish Government,

Reacting to the First Minister’s statement on plans for eventual easing of coronavirus-related restrictions, Derek Provan claimed Ms Sturgeon had sent “a very worrying signal to our airports, our airlines and the thousands of staff our sector supports”.

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Mr Provan, chief executive of Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports owner AGS Airports, said: “Yesterday the Prime Minister provided a clear framework for the safe restart of international aviation. Today the First Minister provided a clear message the aviation industry is not a priority for the Scottish Government. We received no plan or framework against which we can start plotting any form of recovery.”

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He added: “This sends a very worrying signal to our airports, our airlines and the thousands of staff our sector supports. We find ourselves in a position where airports and airlines in England can start planning to safely reopen in time for the summer, yet in Scotland we are left with more questions than answers.

HeraldScotland: Nicola Sturgeon Picture: Gordon TerrisNicola Sturgeon Picture: Gordon Terris

"It is now two weeks since the Scottish Government committed to setting up an aviation working group and it has still to meet. This lack of meaningful engagement cannot continue.”

Mr Sturgeon said: "From 26 April assuming the data allows it - we will move back to levels, with hopefully all of Scotland that is currently in level 4 moving to level 3, albeit with some possible modifications. At that stage, we will begin to re-open the economy and society in the more substantial way that we are all so longing for.

"It is important to stress, of course, that all of this depends on us continuing to suppress the virus now - and continuing to accept some trade-offs for a period, for example on international travel. But if we do so, I am optimistic that we can make good progress in returning more normality to our lives and the economy."

She added: "I know this is still a cautious approach which though absolutely essential to control the virus and protect health, is nevertheless extremely difficult for many businesses."