Edinburgh Airport say today that the number of people travelling through the airport over the summer months has fallen by 91% due to the impact of Covid-19.

A total of 785,000 people passed through the airport between April and September when the airport is normally at its busiest. This is down from 8.4 million in 2019 and well down on the airport’s own 2020 estimates of 8.8 million which they calculated at the end of last year.

They say that the ever-changing situation and near constant changes to quarantine exemptions means forecasting for 2021 is well nigh impossible.

The numbers show that the aviation industry is in a dire situation and will face a huge challenge to recover. But the airport owners say it is also important to find solutions which will help in the airport’s journey to recovery.

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport said: “It’s been an incredibly difficult time for all of us, and the scale of the recovery challenge that faces us is now really hitting home. These figures highlight the huge impact Covid-19 has had, and continues to have, something that is being felt across the travel and tourism industries and the economy as a whole.

“Scotland’s recovery will be protracted and tough, and the aviation industry will face similar challenges to ensure it can reconnect the country to the world. There are still many unknowns which make that difficult to chart.”

The airport has previously confirmed the loss of almost a third of its workforce due to the continued impact of coronavirus and the quarantine policy that is in place. Talks continue with The Scottish Government on the prospect of a robust testing regime and the possibility of a trial scheme to evaluate risk mitigation and protection of public health.

Gordon added: “We have spent years building growth in our passengers, routes and infrastructure, so to see all of that fall back is a concerning position for us to be in. Losing valued friends and colleagues has been difficult for us, and we still face an uncertain future as we continue to grapple with this awful virus.

“Our own recovery will be difficult – we do not expect to break even until 2021 and we face tough choices to ensure we protect as many jobs as we can, and that will always be our main focus. Our business plans have been in a constant state of flux due to circumstances worsening, the introduction of and constant changes to quarantine, and of course all of this feeds into passenger confidence. We need to see a robust testing regime which will protect public health, provide reassurance and see travel and tourism begin to rebuild.”