Hainan Airlines commences first direct flight from Dublin to Beijing

China-headquartered Hainan Airlines has commenced its first ever direct route to mainland China from Dublin Airport.

The new service comes after nearly 120,000 passengers travelled between Ireland and mainland China last year, with about a quarter of them travelling between Dublin and Beijing. Hainan will operate the year-round Dublin to Beijing direct service using an Airbus A330 aircraft on Tuesdays and Saturdays and via Edinburgh on Thursdays and Sundays.

Commenting on the new Dublin to Beijing service, Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Hainan Airlines to Dublin Airport and to Ireland. We have worked really hard to bring this direct route to Ireland and today is the result of many years of dialogue. I would like to thank a wide range of other bodies such as Irish Embassy in China, our colleagues at Tourism Ireland and other key stakeholders such as IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia, all of whom helped to get us to the launch here today.

‘Trade between Ireland and China is hugely important for our economy and it is currently estimated to be worth more than EUR14.9 billion per year. The new direct route will greatly facilitate Irish firms and exporters with operations and clients in China, as well as China’s financial services and technology companies investing in Ireland. Ireland is also home to more than 5,000 Chinese students attending Irish educational institutions. This new direct service makes travelling between the capital cities of Ireland and China much easier and I have no doubt it will be popular for both business and leisure travellers. We will work closely with Hainan Airlines to market the new route.’

Hainan Airlines Chairman Bao Quifa added, ‘We are delighted to launch this first ever direct route between Dublin and Beijing and we are very proud that Hainan Airlines will play a central role in forging greater friendship and cooperation between our two countries. We look forward to welcoming many Irish and Chinese guests on board our five-star Skytrax service.’

The direct Beijing-Dublin flights will operate on Thursdays and Sundays. Flights will depart Beijing at 01:30, arriving in Dublin at 06:00. The direct Dublin-Beijing service will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays and will depart Dublin Airport at 11:10, arriving in Beijing at 05:00 the next day.

The Beijing-Edinburgh-Dublin service will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Flights will depart Beijing at 01:30, arriving in Dublin at 09:10 via Edinburgh. The Dublin-Edinburgh-Beijing service will operate on Thursdays and Sundays, departing at 08:00 and arriving in Beijing via Edinburgh at 05:00 the next day, Dublin Airport said.

United Airlines commences direct service between Edinburgh and Washington D.C

United Airlines has launched a direct service between the capital cities of Scotland and the United States of America for the first time, following the start of a new route between Edinburgh and Washington D.C.

The new daily service from Edinburgh to Washington Dulles will operate on a Boeing 757-200 and will depart Edinburgh at 1230, landing at 1530 local time. It will operate until October 4, 2018.

The service connects Edinburgh to 63 North American destinations via United’s Washington Dulles Airport hub, such as Orlando, Las Vegas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tampa and Denver. United Airlines presently operates a year-round flight to New York Newark and a summer service to Chicago.

Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: ‘This fantastic addition to Edinburgh Airport will link our two capital cities for the first time and strengthen the already strong links between Scotland and America.

‘We know that Edinburgh and Scotland are a huge draw for inbound tourists and we look forward to welcoming and showing them the fantastic sights and history that we have, and the allure of a dynamic city like Washington D.C and all of its landmarks will prove to be a popular with those passengers looking to experience the best of America. Business on both sides of the Atlantic will also benefit from increased access.

‘We fly to more than 150 destinations worldwide and we’re always looking to establish new direct links to destinations across the globe and offer greater choice to the 13.4 million people who travel through Scotland’s busiest airport ever year.’

Bob Schumacher, United Managing Director Sales United Kingdom and Ireland, said: ‘We are excited to inaugurate our nonstop seasonal service between Edinburgh and our Washington, D.C. hub, connecting the two capital cities for the very first time.

‘Our new flight strengthens our international route network and provides our customers from Scotland with greater travel choice, with almost 70 nonstop connections from Washington, D.C. to other destinations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.’

InterContinental Hotels Group adds 13 luxury and upscale hotels in UK

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has said that it will expand its luxury and upscale estate, establishing itself as one of the leading luxury hotel operators in the UK.

Accordingly, IHG has entered into a conditional agreement with Fonciere des Regions (FdR), to rebrand and operate 12 high quality open hotels (2.2k rooms) and one pipeline hotel (185 rooms) into its portfolio across the UK. The move will expand the InterContinental brand, and enable IHG to launch its luxury boutique brand, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in the UK, adding multiple hotels for the brand in major city centres, including London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

The agreement is a major step as IHG plans to take the brand global, expanding on the first signings for Asia and China last year, and will act as a catalyst for Kimpton’s growth in Europe. This agreement aims to strengthen IHG’s position in the upscale segment in the UK, and will establish a presence for its new upscale brand. These hotels will represent the IHG brand in its largest market within the Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa (EMEAA) region, where it will initially be launched later this year.

Keith Barr, chief executive officer, IHG commented: ‘We are focused on continuing to expand our leadership in luxury and upscale, which are both high-value segments with significant growth potential. Bringing Kimpton to such an important market as the UK is a key part of our plans, as is the introduction of our new upscale brand, which will provide an exciting, differentiated offering to both guests and owners. Together with the recent addition of Regent Hotels & Resorts to our portfolio, we are building real momentum behind our plans to deliver industry-leading net rooms growth.’

Following FdR’s acquisition of the hotel properties and operations, IHG will operate the hotels that currently operate under the Principal Hotels and De Vere Hotels brands under long-term ‘managed leases’ as part of its luxury and upscale portfolio. The hotels include The Principal London, The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square, The Principal Edinburgh George Street, The Principal Met Hotel (Leeds), The Principal York, De Vere Oxford Thames, The Grand Birmingham (pipeline), The Principal Manchester, The Principal Blythswood Square (Glasgow), The Principal Grand Central (Glasgow), The Principal St David’s (Cardiff), The Principal Oxford Spires and De Vere Wotton House.

Edinburgh Airport announces new routes to Seville and Jersey

Edinburgh Airport has announced the addition of two new routes to its summer offering after easyJet announced they will operate flights to Seville and Jersey from March.

Both routes will be twice weekly through the summer season and will commence operation from March 26 and March 31, respectively.

Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, Gordon Dewar, said: ‘The New Year always brings fresh opportunities and adventures, and we’re delighted to be able to offer two new summer destinations to passengers in Seville and Jersey. We know choice is important and these new routes only add to the huge selection we already have – and it’s never too early to be planning that next trip!

‘We have a strong relationship with easyJet and the fact they are continuing to grow at Edinburgh is a sign of their commitment to Scotland’s busiest airport and of the success we have had already and will continue to enjoy in 2018 and beyond.’

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager added: ‘We’re really pleased to be adding even more routes to our Edinburgh network and to be putting flights on sale today, allowing our customers to book early and take advantage of our lowest fares for both leisure and business travel.

‘easyJet is the largest airline in Scotland and we have been committed to Edinburgh for over 22 years. We are proud to have carried more than over 41 million passengers in that time.

‘We’re committed to expansion at Edinburgh and the addition of new routes will help us to deliver long term, sustainable growth, providing passengers with a greater range of destinations, all with low fares and great service.’

In December easyJet announced the launch of a new service between Edinburgh and Sofia, opening up Bulgaria’s capital city to Scottish passengers. The twice weekly service will operate on Tuesdays. With the new routes to Seville and Jersey, the number of destinations served from the Scottish airport increases to 146.

Eurowings to commence new Edinburgh – Munich route in March

Edinburgh Airport has announced a new direct service between Scotland’s capital and Munich by Eurowings.

The new five times weekly service – which will commence on March 31, 2017 – offers a greater choice of business and leisure links direct between Scotland and Europe. Munich was Edinburgh’s first twin city in 1954 and this new link will further build the business and cultural ties between Bavaria and Scotland, the airport reported.

The Eurowings flight will depart Edinburgh at 08.35 hours to reach Munich at 11.50 hours, on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays, the flight will depart Edinburgh at 13.15 hours to reach Munich at 16.30 hours, while on Sunday the flight will depart the Scottish capital at 08.15 hours to reach Munich at 11.30 hours. For return, the flight will leave Munich Airport at 06.30 hours on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays to arrive Munich at 0755 hours. On Tuesdays the flight will depart Edinburgh at 11.10 hours to reach Munich at 12.35 hours; while on Sunday, the flight will depart the Scottish capital at 06.10 hours to reach Munich at 07.35 hours.

Edinburgh Airport’s Chief Executive Gordon Dewar said: ‘I am delighted that Edinburgh Airport has a direct new service into Bavaria; this offers even greater choice and is further confirmation of Edinburgh Airport’s position as a leader for connectivity between Scotland and the continent for both business and leisure passengers.

‘We are well on course to have handled in excess of 12 million passengers by the end of the year and we are continuing to grow, create jobs and make a positive contribution for Scotland’s economy.’

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: ‘VisitScotland plays a very important role in partnering airlines on innovative marketing programmes, helping to bring new and extended routes to Scotland’s network. We are delighted that Eurowings has introduced this new service from Munich, which will allow us to welcome even more visitors from one of Scotland’s biggest international markets.’

Hilton Hotels & Resorts launches in prime Edinburgh locale

In response to the rising needs of tourists and travellers, Hilton Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of Hilton Edinburgh Carlton – the eighth Hilton Hotels & Resorts hotel in the country.

More than four million tourists visit Edinburgh yearly.

Located less than 10 miles from Edinburgh Airport and a short walk away from Edinburgh’s main attraction, Hilton Edinburgh Carlton is also within walking distance from the famous Royal Mile, and overlooks the beautiful St. Giles’ Cathedral. The hotel is close to Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street, as well as to some of the UK’s top companies making it an ideal location for both business and leisure travellers.

Andreas Lackner, vice president, area brand management, Hilton Worldwide, said, ‘Hilton Edinburgh Carlton offers a chic hotel experience in a prime Edinburgh locale with its sleek design, top-notch amenities and all the benefits and high-quality service expected from Hilton Hotels & Resorts. We are delighted to be extending our footprint in Scotland and to welcome guests from all over the world, especially with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival taking place this month, attracting thousands of visitors.’

The hotel, owned and operated by Amaris Hospitality, offers 211 guest rooms, including junior suites and executive rooms, to serve the needs of business and leisure travellers. All rooms are equipped with a desk, 40-inch TV and modern bathroom. Guests staying in executive rooms can enjoy complimentary snacks and drinks in the hotel’s Executive Lounge throughout the day.

With seven exclusive meeting spaces that can accommodate up to 200 people, Hilton Edinburgh Carlton caters to events and occasions. The hotel also offers customised dining options for private events along with dedicated breakout spaces. Hilton Edinburgh Carlton also features Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill, offering a classic dining menu, along with signature dishes and drinks.

Hilton Edinburgh Carlton participates in Hilton HHonors, the guest-loyalty programme for Hilton Worldwide. In celebration of the hotel’s opening, Hilton HHonors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels will receive 5,000 bonus points for a three-night minimum stay (valid through October 31, 2016), along with instant benefits including an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi and digital check-in.

Nordic Aviation launches new Tallinn route from Edinburgh

Nordic Aviation has announced a new thrice-weekly service between Tallinn and Edinburgh for this summer, according to Edinburgh Airport.

Nordic Aviation’s new service is Scotland’s only flight to Estonia. The service will commence on May 28 and operate until October 3, 2016, and will be operated in cooperation with Adria Airways aboard modern CRJ-900 jets.

Nordic Aviation board member Erik Sakkov said, ‘Edinburgh’s rich historical heritage makes it perfect for Estonian holiday makers who will enjoy a unique combination of ancient Scottish and modern European culture.

Moreover, I’m sure that Tallinn and Estonia have a lot to offer for Scottish people too. Our country’s beautiful medieval capital, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Estonia’s diverse nature and fascinating cultural traditions make it possible that everyone will find something for themselves.’

Edinburgh Airport’s chief executive Gordon Dewar said: ‘We are delighted that Edinburgh Airport has a direct new flight into Tallinn and the three times weekly service which is perfectly-timed for weekend city-breaks.

‘This announcement is yet further confirmation of Edinburgh Airport’s position as the leader for business and tourism connectivity between Scotland and international destinations.

‘It is greatly encouraging that Nordic Aviation recognises the growing demand for connectivity to and from Edinburgh – and this new service adds to our city’s and Scotland’s growing international profile.

‘With over 11 million passengers through the doors at Edinburgh Airport in 2015 – we are continuing to grow, create jobs and make a positive contribution for Scotland’s economy.’

Edinburgh Airport has also recently announced January’s passenger numbers showing 700,142 people passed through the airport in the first month of the year. The change represents double digit growth from January 2015, with a 21.7 per cent annual hike in the number of international passengers.

Edinburgh Airport announces direct flights to Dusseldorf

Edinburgh Airport has confirmed that Eurowings, part of the Lufthansa Group, is set to launch a new direct flight between Scotland’s capital and Dusseldorf Airport in March next year.

Edinburgh Airport’s chief executive Gordon Dewar said that the thrice-weekly flight offers enhanced options for passengers and business links direct between Scotland and mainland Europe. The new service, which will operate on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, will commence on March 27, 2015.

Gordon Dewar said: ‘I am delighted that Edinburgh Airport has a direct new flight into the heart of Dusseldorf; this offers even greater choice and is further confirmation of Edinburgh Airport’s position as a leader for business connectivity between Scotland and the continent.

‘Credit is due to Eurowings for recognising the growing demand for connectivity from Edinburgh. Confirmation of this route between Scotland’s capital and Dusseldorf Airport shows they share similar aspirations for business growth as we do.

‘With over one million passengers through the doors at Edinburgh Airport last month – and in every one of the last five months – we are continuing to grow, create jobs and make a positive contribution for Scotland’s economy.’

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: ‘Germany already makes up our single biggest European market and is our second largest international market. Last year Scotland welcomed 343,000 trips by our German friends – almost a fifth more than in 2013. Air services play an important part in growing the visitor economy and we are particularly delighted to see such a strong operator as Eurowings increasing its position in Scotland.

‘German visitors see Scotland as an ideal destination for ‘romantic adventurers’ and can be found travelling to all corners of the country to explore our diverse cities and beautiful landscape. With this exciting addition to Scotland’s air routes, we look forward to welcoming even more of our German friends next year.’

A part of the Lufthansa Group, Eurowings already serves Cologne from Edinburgh. Lufthansa also flies to Frankfurt from Edinburgh, and two airlines within the same group – Brussels Airlines and Edelweiss Airlines (Swiss) – also serve Edinburgh to Brussels and to Zurich respectively.

 

Delta, Virgin announce new route between New York JFK and Edinburgh

Delta and Virgin Atlantic Airways will commence a daily service from Edinburgh Airport direct to New York JFK starting May 27, 2016.

With the addition of Delta’s service to New York, passengers will have increased choice in both direct routes to New York, as well as better connectivity across all of North America via Delta’s extensive network and Sky Team alliance at New York JFK.

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said, ‘Edinburgh to New York is a flagship route between two vibrant economic and cultural power houses. The strong bonds between Scotland and America are well known and we look forward to welcoming even more inbound visitors from throughout America to Scotland’s capital city, and similarly assist more Scots in visiting North America.’

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, Keith Brown, said: ‘Scotland and the United States share strong cultural and economic bonds, so this new direct service between Edinburgh and New York will only serve to strengthen these links.

‘Of course, we could attract more direct international flights like this to Scotland by cutting rates of Air Passenger Duty, and I once again call on the UK Government to transfer these powers to the Scottish Parliament as soon as possible.’

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland added: ‘We are delighted that Delta has chosen to launch a direct service from New York to Edinburgh. The United States continues to be our biggest international market for inbound tourism but there is always room for growth. Direct route improvements over the last two years have helped boost visitor numbers and this new route will tap in to Delta’s vast North American network opening up even more opportunities for US visitors to come to Scotland.’

The airline will offer all passengers on-demand access to in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the aircraft. Those travelling in the Delta One cabin will also benefit from full flat-bed seats and a range of personalised dining options.

Etihad Airways announces new daily Edinburgh – Abu Dhabi service

Etihad Airways, the United Arab Emirates’ national carrier, is looking to connect the Middle East to the Scottish capital with the launch of daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Edinburgh, starting this week.

Etihad Airways’ first Scottish destination, the Edinburgh service is its third in the UK, alongside a triple-daily operation to London Heathrow and double-daily flights to Manchester.

The new service is expected to provide connections through the Abu Dhabi hub to some of the most popular holiday destinations and trade centres for the Scottish economy in the Middle East, Indian sub-continent, Asia and Australia. Operated using a two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft, the service offers a total of 22 seats in Business Class and 240 seats in Economy Class.

Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer for Etihad Airways, said: ‘Scotland is the natural next step on our growth trajectory in the UK, with strong tourism and business traffic in both directions. We have been impressed by the welcome we have received from Edinburgh Airport and from the Scottish tourism industry. Many local stakeholders have played a part in attracting us to the city and welcoming us here, and we’re confident this service will be a great success.

‘As the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi is also an important business and financial hub across many industry sectors. With more than 110 direct destinations – and hundreds more through our partners – we can connect Scottish travellers wherever they need to go, for business or for leisure. Additionally, for Scottish trade and tourism, we will be able to bring in leisure and business visitors from many of these destinations.’

For leisure customers and families, Edinburgh – the UK’s largest tourist centre outside London – attracts over a million overseas tourists each year. Notably, Edinburgh is the second most popular British city for Australians, eight per cent of whom have Scottish ancestry. Etihad Airways currently connects directly to Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne and onward to around 40 further destinations across Australia, through the partnership with Virgin Australia.

For businesses and trade, the UAE is already a major trade partner for Scotland in the Middle East. According to data released at the end of 2014 by the UK’s Office for National Statistics, bilateral trade between the UAE and UK reached more than £12.36 billion in 2013.