Touchdown for direct flights between China and Scotland

The first ever direct flight between Scotland and China landed at Edinburgh Airport today (12 June) on what was described as a momentous day for Scotland’s busiest airport.

A passenger jet taxis for take-off at Edinburgh International Airport

Photograph by: Paul Tomkins / VisitScotlandEdinburgh airport

The four-weekly, year-round service with Hainan Airlines from Beijing Capital International Airport is Scotland’s first connection to the Far East and a major boost for tourism and business links between the two countries.

Passengers from the inaugural flight were given an enthusiastic Scottish welcome which included a piper from the world famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo serenading their arrival.

“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,” said Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport.

“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.”

Scotland is already an increasingly popular destination for visitors from China, including many couples seeking to get married in the country.

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The new direct 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 0600 and departs for Dublin at 0800 and then on to Beijing.

On Thursdays and Sundays the flight arrives into Edinburgh from Dublin at 0910 before departing for Beijing at 1110.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:“This first direct service from China to Edinburgh represents a gear change for Scottish tourism and further cements Scotland’s reputation as a world-class destination.

“As the Chinese market has grown over the years so too has the Scottish capital’s popularity with Chinese visitors and it continues to be the top destination outside of London.

“Through our ongoing work with key Chinese tour operators we have seen visitor itineraries extending over the years. Bringing visitors from China directly into the heart of Scotland will create greater opportunities for tourism businesses right across the country, as visitors stay longer and explore further.”