Scottish External Affairs Minister helps mark historic date at Edinburgh Airport
The first direct link between Edinburgh and Doha was officially launched this morning, topping off a momentous week of new route launches for Edinburgh Airport.
Qatar Airways will now fly direct from the Scottish capital to Doha five times per week, fully opening Scotland up to Asia, Australia and China – something which has been missing from the Edinburgh route network for many years. The Middle Eastern carrier will fly Scotland’s first scheduled 787 Dreamliner and will offer connectivity to over 120 worldwide destinations.
Seen as a crucial milestone for Scotland, the occasion was marked with a special event at Edinburgh Airport this morning where representatives of Team Scotland, joined by Humza Yousaf MSP, Scottish Minister for External Affairs and International Development, gathered to welcome Qatar Airways to Edinburgh and celebrate the inaugural flight.
Marwan Koleilat, Chief Commercial Officer for Qatar Airways, flew into Edinburgh on the first flight and was given a traditional Scottish welcome, complete with a piper and wet weather.
Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: "This truly is a historic day, not just for our airport, but for the city of Edinburgh and for Scotland.
"Today’s inaugural flight to Doha marks the first direct link from Edinburgh to the Middle East and means Scotland’s capital is finally connected with Asia, Australia and China. We’re absolutely delighted to celebrate this occasion with our city partners and the Scottish Government, whose hard work has helped us reach this milestone.
"A direct link to Doha will not only enhance trade and culture links but will truly reaffirm Edinburgh Airport as where Scotland meets the world."
Minister for External Affairs and International Development Humza Yousaf said: "Scotland and Qatar are both strong oil and gas producing countries and the relationship between our two countries has continued to strengthen over recent years.
"This service will help build on this important link and promote Scotland as a great place to do business. By removing the need for extra connecting flights, it will also make Scotland a more attractive destination for tourists.
"We want to improve Scotland’s international connectivity and we could attract more direct flights like this by cutting rates of Air Passenger Duty (APD), something that we don’t currently have the power to do but which has wide support in the aviation industry.
"2014 is an exciting time for Scotland and we look forward to welcoming friends from around the world for our exciting programme of events that includes the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and a second Year of Homecoming."