Emirates today touched down at Edinburgh Airport for the first time as the carrier’s Boeing 777-300ER landed at Edinburgh Airport just before 15.00h before returning to Dubai just before 20.00h tonight.
The daily service is the second Emirates route into Scotland as the airline started flying into and out of Glasgow Airport in April 2004 and it is the 8th route in the UK.
Emirates was welcomed with a water cannon salute as it parked up and was given a full Scottish welcome as bag pipe players welcomed passengers on the flight.
The airline made the move after an opportunity arose and was given a further boost as Etihad Airways pulls its flights from the end of this month leaving a gap in the market.
Emirates senior divisional vice president, Hubert Frach said there is opportunities for tourism, trade, business and education across the network. It the carrier’s 162nd destination.
Frach said: “Today’s flight marks the start of greater connectivity and more convenience for leisure and business travellers from the wider Edinburgh area and locations further afield, such as Aberdeen and Dundee, to destinations across Emirates’ global network via Dubai.
“While for inbound travellers, particularly from cities in Asia and Australia, there is now a direct flight option to Scotland’s most visited city by tourists.
“In addition to tourism, the new flight will also directly connect Edinburgh to new opportunities for business, trade and education across our network.”
Edinburgh chief executive, Gordon Dewar said the route was 10 years in the making and it was held up due to issues such as the global financial crisis. It is the airport’s 14th long-haul service.
Dewar expects the gateway handle more than 14 million passengers this year, strong growth on 13.4 million plus last year, fuelled by new long-haul connections. The airport is being developed to meet increasing numbers.
He said: “This is a great day for Scotland and Edinburgh. We know the power of connectivity – the more we can connect with cities and countries across the globe, the more opportunity for passengers. It makes our country stronger and culturally richer.
“Our partnership with a world class brand like Emirates strengthens and grows our country’s connectivity and we look forward to working with them to the benefit of passengers across the world. We’ve built our success on making Edinburgh where Scotland meets the world and today’s flight see us take a major step on that journey.”
Other destinations which Emirates serves in the UK, include London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester and Glasgow. The carrier now operates 19 daily flights to the UK from Dubai.