SCOTTISH airports have demanded support as they admit they have "no idea" how strengthened quarantine rules will work.

The First Minister confirmed on Tuesday that a managed quarantine system for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland - regardless of which country they have come from - will be introduced as soon as practicably possible. They are due to go further than the other nations of the UK.

But Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports - which operates Glasgow and Aberdeen airports - said it lacked "any detail" on how the latest layer of restrictions will be implemented.

And a spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: "We still don't know how this is expected to work."

Under UK plans, people arriving from high-risk countries on a "red list" will have to quarantine in hotels.

Nicola Sturgeon said that would be extended to all travellers "regardless of which country they have come from".

Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports - which operates Glasgow and Aberdeen airports - said the industry has to be consulted if it is to implement any new measures.

He said it was the third significant announcement regarding travel restrictions in as many weeks which, "once again, have been introduced without any consultation whatsoever".

READ MORE: Revealed: Foreign travel Covid risk concerns raised by Scots experts last summer

He said there was a lack of clarity over how people will be able to travel from the aircraft to the hotel.

And he said they don't understand what monitoring and measuring will take place between the Scottish and English borders.


He said: "We’re also lacking any detail on how the latest layer of restrictions will be implemented.

“We understand the need for short-term emergency measures, and we all want to see this virus brought under control as quickly as possible, however, it’s imperative government engages with industry on developing a recovery plan.

“Our airports are effectively closed, they have been for almost one year and without a recovery plan from government there is no end in sight - we need to see sector specific support beyond the rates relief otherwise our entire industry will remain in a perilous position.”

Ms Sturgeon said on Tuesday the stricter rules were to "guard against" the importation of new variants."

She said the approach agreed across the UK only included countries where new variants had already been identified.

Ms Sturgeon said this was "too reactive" because a new variant will often have spread across borders by the time it has been identified through genomic sequencing.

And while Scotland cannot unilaterally implement managed quarantine for people arriving in other parts of the UK before travelling to Scotland, it is to urge the UK government to adopt a stricter approach.

“As levels of the virus continue to fall in Scotland, it becomes ever more important that we stop the virus from being imported again," she said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus Scotland: New travel corridor rules see drop in air travel

“That is why we intend to introduce a managed quarantine requirement for anyone who arrives directly into Scotland, regardless of which country they have come from.

“We want to work with the UK Government to avoid travellers sidestepping restrictions and arriving in other parts of the UK before travelling to Scotland, however the most effective approach to prevent this and to stop new variants being imported is for the UK Government to introduce a compulsory quarantine for anyone travelling into the UK from overseas.


“Since we still have work to do these measures will not be introduced this week and more detail will follow shortly."

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said they still don't know how this it was expected to work and "what it means for airports and our industry, so yet again we ask the Scottish government to talk to us".

"Business-changing policy with no detail is damaging because we can't plan our response or our recovery, which will feed into Scotland's recovery - we understand restrictions are required, but we're now coming up for a year of little to no passengers without direct industry support," he said.

Scots experts warned six months ago that international travel was a main driver of Covid-19 infections but the UK’s rigorous test-before-travel scheme was not introduced until January 18, allowing the virus to circulate freely in Scotland, it has emerged.

New rules requiring arrivals to take a negative coronavirus test up to 72 hours before departure and self-isolate for up to 10 days after entering the UK came into effect at 4am on that day as travel corridors offering exemptions were scrapped.

That move was part of the Government’s attempts to prevent new strains of Covid-19 entering the UK.

The previous week, the UK Government introduced for the first time measures aimed at ensuring that people coming into the country now required a negative Covid-19 test.

Before that, according to figures shared with the Herald more than 14,000 passengers a week were estimated to have been arriving in Scotland through the nation's airports from home and abroad without that clearance - 6000 more than in mid-April, in the early stages of the first lockdown.


The Herald revealed that in June a study from over 40 Scottish health experts from seven universities examining the four weeks after the first case reported was reported in Scotland on March 1 concluded an earlier lockdown from countries with a high burden of cases such as Italy and other measures such as quarantine of travellers from high-risk areas "might have prevented escalation of the outbreak and multiple clusters of ongoing community transmission".

And in early December, a month before the introduction of tougher travel restrictions, a Scottish expert report from many of the same institutions submitted to the Government advisers, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) painted a similar picture this time with the second wave.

The Covid-19 Genomics UK consortium in its analysis of the findings said: "What was then observed going into the second wave is that disease was caused by new lineages that has been introduced into the country, many of which could be traced to introductions from countries outside of the UK.

"Summer holidays and other travel abroad taken at a time when disease was under control in Scotland, but less so elsewhere, has had a predictable outcome.

"This provides indisputable evidence for the importance of border controls, including effective screening and isolation policies. Once introduced, spread is driven by travel, and then onward spread by population density."

Meanwhile, health secretary Matt Hancock has refused to confirm that quarantine hotels for international arrivals will open this month.

HeraldScotland: Health Secretary Matt Hancock

The Government announced the policy aimed at limiting the spread of new coronavirus strains last week, but has not revealed when it will be implemented.

Mr Hancock was asked by LBC if the scheme will be launched by the end of February.

The Cabinet minister replied: “We’ll set out more details of that when we’re ready to, but you’ve seen that we’re perfectly prepared to take very tough action if that’s what’s needed.”

He went on: “Already there is the very clear legal rules – with the strong enforcement behind it – that we’ve now put in place for anybody entering the country as a passenger at all.

“Whether that is isolation in your own home or in hotels, it is isolation.

“But we’re always open to looking at tougher measures.”

Quarantine hotels will be used for people arriving from countries from where non-residents or nationals are already banned from entering the UK.

This “red list” includes all of South America, southern Africa, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates.

Passengers will be met at airports and transported directly to hotels where they will self-isolate for 10 days.

Further details are expected to be released this week.