First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to allow travellers returning to Scotland to use cheaper coronavirus tests provided by private suppliers.

In a letter to Ms Sturgeon on Wednesday, aviation leaders again pushed the Scottish Government to follow the policy in England, which allows passengers to use private suppliers charging as little as £25 for a testing kit compared to £170 per person for amber list countries in Scotland.

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Those returning to Scotland from green list countries still have to pay £88 per person for the Government-approved testing kit.

In the letter, the heads of airlines easyJet, Jet2, Loganair and Tui joined with the chiefs of all of Scotland’s major airports, the Airport Operators Association, Airlines UK and the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association to call for an end to the “long standing discrepancy”.

They wrote: “Scottish passengers and families are continuing to be heavily penalised despite there being private suppliers offering the same tests that meet strict UK Government requirements for a fraction of the cost.

“This lack of parity with England will continue to price many people out of travelling and will be a very real barrier to airports and airlines as we try to safely re-establish our connectivity.

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“We urgently need the Government to review its guidelines and introduce an equitable testing system as soon as possible and no later than by the end of July.”

Industry leaders have consistently raised the issue with the Scottish Government, which said in May it was “exploring options” to allow private testing, adding: “Provided this can be done safely and we can be assured that there aren’t any issues with the flow of data from the testing provider to Public Health Scotland regarding test results, as well as the need for positive test results to be analysed for evidence of any variants of concern.”