Travelling abroad? East Midlands Airport ready for busiest weekend despite rise in Covid cases

East Midlands Airport expects this weekend to be its busiest since the start of the pandemic, with the lifting of travel restrictions, testing changes and schools' half-term breaks all at play.

But should we be travelling abroad when coronavirus cases could soon rise to 100,000 a day?

Passenger numbers have increased to about 50% from pre-pandemic levels as 24,000 people expected through the airport's terminal across the the weekend.

'We're really excited', Managing Director of East Midlands Airport Claire James says

Claire James, who's the Managing Director of East Midlands AIrport, said: "The whole pandemic has been a devastating impact on our industry.

"We were the first to be hit, I remember vividly the day our aircraft were being turned round over Spain so to see the terminal buzzing again with passengers - we're really excited."

Those going abroad this summer have not exceeded a third of what they were pre-pandemic, Ms James said, despite flights resuming in May following lockdown at the start of this year.

However, since changes to the traffic light system were introduced, alongside passengers no longer needing to do a day two PCR test on return to the UK from 24 October, and schools breaking up for half-term, demand appears to be on the up.

24,000 passengers are expected this weekend – the most since the pandemic began

The pandemic has been the most difficult period in the history of aviation.

The sector was one of the first to be shut down, and the last to re-open.

During significant periods of the last year-and-a-half, EMA’s passenger terminal was closed as bans on non-essential international travel took effect.

Clare James, East Midlands Airport’s Managing Director said: "I’ve been in this role for 15 months and I am only just starting to see the passenger operation come to life.

It’s been such an unsettled time for everyone involved with this airport.

Our full recovery will be gradual but if things continue as they are I’m hopeful that, come the dark long days of January when the Christmas and New Year festivities are over, people’s attention will turn to sun, sea and sangria and booking overseas breaks next year.”

Meanwhile, the airport have a target of emitting zero carbon emissions by 2038 - with focus now shifting to sustainable aviation.