The first direct flight from any Scottish airport to China landed this week in a breakthrough move for Edinburgh Airport passengers.
The service is scheduled to run twice a week and is hoping to attract not only hundreds of usual passengers using the flight for tourism purposes, but also international students who are considering Scotland to study. Chinese tourism has already contributed a hefty £26.5m towards Edinburgh’s economy, so the addition of a further two return flights will take off between the two will only see this figure soar.
Edinburgh Lord Provost Frank Ross said: “This is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a number of organisations and it is fantastic for all of us to see the new flight schedule up and running.
“As the only Scottish city with a direct flight to China, the new route will provide Edinburgh with substantial outreach to Asia for tourism, business travel and investment opportunities.
“This will be supported by many across the retail, hotel and restaurant sectors through the city’s innovative ‘China Ready’ campaign and I’m sure it will also be welcomed by Edinburgh’s many business travellers and holidaymakers.”
The move comes after many years of hard work between multiple organisations, including Edinburgh Airport and the City of Edinburgh Council on the Edinburgh-China Air Link Project. The airport are excited to welcome two flights a week as the new direct flights cut the travel time from 15 hours to 11.5.
As a celebration of the first flight, a piper from the world famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo welcomed passengers from Beijing to Scotland before piping them off on departure.
Fiona Hunter, Edinburgh-China Air-link project manager said: “Securing a global flight connection on this scale is hugely encouraging of the capital’s position as an outstanding place to visit, live, work, study and invest.
“The flight path is the result of many years of hard work and is really just the start of the opportunity for Edinburgh. Based on our research we expect to see the number of flights increase quite significantly over the next few years, bringing with it even more investment and economic influence.”