HIAL introduces new measures at airports to protect passengers and staff

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited has introduced new measures to help ensure the safety of passengers and staff as it prepares for the gradual resumption of scheduled flights to and from its airports.

Wearing face coverings, hand sanitiser and strict adherence to social distancing are some of the requirements for all airport users as airlines begin a measured reintroduction of scheduled flights later this month.

HIAL airports have remained open to essential, lifeline services and emergency flights throughout the Covid-19 crisis, with key personnel on duty to ensure operations have been maintained during the lockdown.

The airports will continue to rigorously follow Health Protection Scotland and European Aviation Safety Agency guidelines. Staff will wear more personal protective equipment than normal, including face masks and gloves where required. Screens have been installed and physical distancing measures are in place with sanitiser stations in key locations throughout airports and regular deep cleaning is being carried out.

In line with current guidance, passengers will be required to wear face coverings before entering airport terminals and must keep them in place until their journeys are completed. Passengers are advised to arrive with their own face coverings, although a limited number may be available at airports, this cannot be guaranteed. Not wearing a face covering may mean passengers will not be able to travel.

Due to social distancing requirements, the numbers of passengers within the terminal building will be limited and only travelling passengers will be allowed in the terminal. Special assistance support is still available for those who require it. All passengers will be welcomed by a member of the HIAL team on arrival who will help guide them through the new procedures.

Based on the latest advice from the Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland temperature checks are not currently required.

Managing director Inglis Lyon, said: “My colleagues have worked extremely hard to offer a safer environment for passengers at our airports and we will continue to rely on the understanding and cooperation of travellers to follow our new procedures to make their experience as smooth as possible, given the current restrictions.

“We are pleased that we are now able to focus on a safe and gradual resumption of air travel, however it is vital that everyone plays their part in helping ensure we avoid risking transmission of Covid-19, by ensuring that you turn up at the airport wearing your face mask, maintaining social distancing and personal hygiene. We will continue to move in lockstep with Transport Scotland and adhere to Health Protection Scotland advice.

“We do not know if, or when, we will be able to travel as we did pre-coronavirus and given that all of us must adapt to these new habits and procedures in order to go about this part of our lives.

“As we implement our procedures, we are doing our utmost to get everything right for our passengers. I would ask anyone who has any concerns or comments, to please let us know in the first instance so we can address them and contact a member of the team at your airport.”

EasyJet has announced it will resume limited flights between Inverness and Gatwick on June 15 and other airlines have indicated they will also look to begin a carefully planned introduction of domestic flights to HIAL airports in the near future.