The first ever direct flight between Scotland and China has landed at Edinburgh Airport in a momentous day at Scotland’s busiest airport as Hainan Airlines started its new Beijing route.
The four-weekly, year-round service with Hainan Airlines to Beijing Capital International Airport is Scotland’s first connection to the Far East.
The route will be serviced by an Airbus A330-300 and includes a stopover in Dublin as part of an innovative flight model which links the three capital cities.
On Tuesdays and Saturdays the flight arrives into Edinburgh from Beijing at 06:00h and departs for Dublin at 08:00h and then on to Beijing. On Thursdays and Sundays the flight arrives into Edinburgh from Dublin at 09:10h before departing for Beijing at 11:10h (all local times).
The direct China connection is a major boost for tourism in Scotland and increases business links with the Far East, both of which will benefit the Scottish economy.
A piper from the world famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo welcomed passengers from Beijing to Scotland before piping them off on departure.
Edinburgh Airport chief executive, Gordon Dewar said: “This is a momentous day as we connect not only Edinburgh and Beijing for the first time, but Scotland and China too. It is a route which has immense opportunities for our countries, from tourism and business to culture, education and more.
“We know Edinburgh is second only to London for Chinese tourists and we are eager to welcome more people to our fantastic capital city, but it’s also about connecting people from Scotland to Beijing and wider China thanks to Hainan’s hub network.
“Hainan is one of the world’s most prestigious airlines and we are proud to be working with them. This is something the city has worked towards for a number of years and we are delighted to see this day finally arrive.”
Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “Securing direct links between Scotland and China is one of our key priorities for route development. This new direct Beijing-Edinburgh route is an exciting first chapter in direct air connectivity between Scotland and China.
“It will enable China and Scotland to become closer in partnership and in travel time, building upon existing strong links for business and tourism. The Scottish Government and our agencies look forward to working with Hainan Airlines and Edinburgh Airport to make this route a great success.”