Nicola Sturgeon was under pressure on Friday to follow England’s lead and end the 10-day quarantine period for double vaccinated travellers after an industry chief warned that Scots would simply use airports south of the border.
Despite the announcement that fully vaccinated UK residents arriving in England from amber list countries will no longer have to quarantine from July 19, SNP ministers have not yet said whether they will follow suit.
With an announcement expected next week, the First Minister has said she is "carefully considering" quarantine rules as she faces increasing calls for her Government to adopt a four nations approach.
Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, warned the industry "simply cannot carry on with closure" and said there was no reason why Scotland’s airports should be forced to operate differently from other parts of the UK.
"Absolutely what will happen is that Scots will fly from English airports," she told BBC Radio’s Good Morning programme on Friday.
"We can’t make decisions without considering what our neighbours are doing. Decisions shouldn’t be taken in isolation, we need at the very least a four nations approach."
Travel countries on the red, green and amber list
Meanwhile, Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel, questioned why plans were still under consideration at such a late stage.
"Our English counterparts – industry and holidaymakers – are getting ready to make plans from 19 July, but once again Scotland is left in limbo," she said.
She added: "Given the lack of clarity for Scottish arrivals into England, there is also a significant risk that Scottish holidaymakers will begin to depart and arrive from English airports which will have huge long-term effects on our airports."
SNP ministers have faced repeated accusations throughout the pandemic of failing to adequately engage with the aviation sector, with particular criticism aimed at a "loophole" in their blanket quarantine policy earlier this year which meant Scots could skip the isolation period by flying into English airports.
Popular holiday destinations and their policies towards arriving British travellers
Joanne Dooey, president of The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA), also demanded that SNP ministers tell businesses "at what stage, if any" the development of a Scottish travel certification app is at.
"Currently English travellers can use the NHS app to prove their certification status and this integrates with the EU Digital Covid Certificate (EUDCC) which gives digital proof of a traveller’s vaccination, testing and recovered from Covid-19 status," she said, pointing out that Scots currently have to apply for paper certificates.
A Scottish Government spokesperson confirmed that ministers are "considering relaxing restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers from amber list countries", but insisted this needs to be "fair and deliverable".
They added: "Where possible we will look to adopt a four nation approach for the re-opening of international travel. However, decisions on border health measures are a devolved matter and will be taken by Ministers on the basis of evidence and with the safety of our communities as our primary concern."