BASC Scotland working to resolve airline firearms ban

BASC Scotland is liaising with the government and police to resolve a ban by German airline Lufthansa on passengers travelling into Scottish airports with firearms.

Dr Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said the ban was affecting people travelling to Scotland for deer stalking while in possession of valid visitor permits and that he was puzzled by the approach when there was “no legal basis for it”.

"We have been aware of the situation for the past couple of weeks and have been working both with Police Scotland and the Scottish Government to resolve the issue," he said.

"There should be no embargo on visitors coming to Scotland with firearms as long as they have a valid visitor permit. This seems to be an issue for Lufthansa and German airports to address.”

Lufthansa also banned travel with firearms last year but was this was reversed after complaints to the Scottish Government from shooting organisations and groups with an interest in promoting fieldsports tourism in Scotland.

“A small number of passengers flying to Scotland from Germany were prevented from travelling with firearms last autumn despite having appropriate visitor permits issued by Police Scotland,” Dr Shedden added.

"Intervention by Scottish Government officials appeared to nip this in the bud. However, the problem has arisen again this autumn.

“This is despite Lufthansa and other airlines being informed by Scottish Government that there are no restrictions in place for those travelling with valid visitor permits.  It appears that some travellers with firearms are still being refused. 

"We are aware that the Scottish Government is in discussion with Lufthansa and have been told by the Scottish Government that the issue has nothing to do with UK gun laws or indeed communications from Scottish Government. The issue is with the airline.”

BASC has contacted Lufthansa to seek a resolution but the airline continues to blame authorities in Scotland.

Their statement said: “In the past, due to the well-known strict firearm laws and import regulations in the United Kingdom, there have been repeated problems for Lufthansa’s passengers and staff, in regards to the import of hunting weapons via our commercial flights.

“In order to avoid these difficulties with the authorities, Lufthansa has imposed a weapon embargo for its passengers on flights to the United Kingdom.”

BASC council member Cara Richardson, a sporting agent in Scotland, said: “Rural businesses and communities rely on the estimated £155 million injected each year into Scotland’s economy by country sports tourism.

“Introducing unnecessary barriers to travel is a serious detriment to Scotland’s iconic status as a fieldsports destination of choice for many people around the world.”