THE boss of Edinburgh Airport has accused Nicola Sturgeon of "campaigning" against his industry.

Gordon Dewar also branded the Scottish Government's vaccine rollout plan "woefully inadequate". 

He made the comments after the First Minister advised Scots not to start booking summer holidays abroad next year.

Speaking to Holyrood's Covid-19 Committee, Mr Dewar said: "We have a First Minister campaigning against our industry."

The chief executive of Edinburgh Airport said "hurdle after hurdle" has been thrown in its way as it tries to set up "a robust aviation testing regime". 

He added: "Even though we have that capability in Scotland, we are still the only country in Europe - and I repeat that, the only country in Europe - that is not using a testing regime to support and make flying safe again."

Mr Dewar was highly critical of the Scottish Government's vaccine plans.

He said: “We've looked at the designs that they're looking at for their vaccine rollouts, and they are woefully inadequate.

“They will not deliver a wide vaccine capability until the back end of next year as it stands.

“Put this in context - they're not even attempting to start vaccines at mass drive through centres until February.

“I genuinely think we've got an extremely high probability that come March, we will have availability of vaccines - potentially multiple vaccines in fridges in Scotland - and no method of delivering them while people are still dying of Covid.

“And there will be no prospect of taking away travel restrictions.”

He earlier said: "We've arguably had one of the worst-managed Covid crises in Europe if you judge it by any of the statistics about levels of infections and deaths."

Giving evidence to the committee later, SNP Constitution Secretary Michael Russell and Scotland's National Clinical Director Jason Leitch both refuted his vaccine claims.

Mr Russell said the criticism was "simply not accurate at all" and he would be "delighted" to see the aviation industry flourish.

Mr Leitch said: "There is a plan. The plan is clear."

He said he was a keen traveller and looks forward to the day "when that all returns".

An expert report published yesterday found Scotland came close to eliminating coronavirus during lockdown but new strains were introduced when the country opened up and people began travelling again. 

During the Scottish Government's coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon was asked if Scots should feel confident booking a summer holiday next year.

She said: "No, I wouldn't be right now booking a holiday for next [summer]. 

"Not because I don't hope that we are in a much better place next summer. 

"But right now I think we've all just got to focus on getting through this. 

"I very much hope that the prospect of being able to travel by next summer will be there for all of us. 

"But it would be, I think, a bit foolish of me to stand here right now and advise people what to be doing next summer, when we're still trying to navigate our way through this pandemic."

Responding to Mr Dewar, a Scottish Government spokesman said: "These claims are simply not true – it is precisely because we value the aviation and travel sector so much that the current measures won’t be in place for a moment longer than is necessary to protect public health and stop transmission of the virus.

"We absolutely do not underestimate the impact Covid-19 has had on the industry, which is why we are the only government in the UK to offer rates relief to the sector.

"We know how essential the aviation [sector] is to our economy and the challenges that are ahead in helping it to recover."

"Our decisions on testing and quarantine throughout this pandemic have been informed by clinical and scientific advice to minimise the risk to public health – while we have not yet made a decision, we are not yet satisfied that moving from quarantine to testing would provide enough protection.

"Meanwhile we are doing everything we can with the limited resources available to us to support the travel sector through the current crisis."