View from an aeroplane

An international student has described her “stressful” journey back to the UK after spending Christmas with her family in Croatia.

Josipa Orašanin who is studying in Scotland travelled back to the UK in January 2021.

She said she found out she had to get tested to travel back the day before “so it was very stressful. You don’t know if you are going to get the results in time for the flight.”

AUDIO: Josipa shares her experience at the airport during the pandemic

Restrictions on international travel have greatly impacted airports as well. Ioan Reed-Aspley, head of media for East Midlands Airport, said there were no flights scheduled to and from EMA, and it was unlikely they would have any before May 17, the earliest date before which the government has said there will be no lifting of the ban on international travel.

Mr Reed-Aspley also shared statistics showing the impact of the pandemic on the airport.

  • Passenger numbers are 94% below where they were in March 2020.
  • Ordinarily, in the period from April to January EMA would see about 3.8m passengers. In 2021 they have seen just over 400,000 in total.
Passenger at an airport

EMA, however, saw an increase in cargo. In 2020, the airport handled 50,000 more tonnes of goods than in 2019, taking their annual rolling total to 421,000 tonnes. In December 2020 it saw a 43% increase compared with December 2019.

“This is due to the lack of capacity on long-haul passenger flights from other airports, resulting in more customers turning to the air cargo specialists based at EMA, coupled with increasing numbers of people ordering products online due to non-essential retail being shut,” explained Mr Reed-Aspley.