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Edinburgh Airport opens new departure lounge

Edinburgh Airport today (Thursday 19th November) unveiled its brand new departure lounge, the first phase of a £40 million redevelopment of the terminal building and the biggest single project in the airport's 32 year history.

The three year transformation of the terminal will allow Edinburgh Airport to handle current and future passenger volumes, with as many as 13 million passengers expected to pass through the airport every year by 2013.

Over 2,600 square metres of new space was officially opened to passengers today, following the construction of a major extension to the north of the existing terminal. 450 additional seats have been provided and the popular view of the Edinburgh Airport runway and airfield, lost during the construction works, has now returned.

The expanded departure lounge area includes two new restaurants - the "Sir Walter Scott" bar operated by JD Weatherspoons and "The Gathering" restaurant, takeaway and delicatessen, all operated by new airport arrival Delaware North. A new World Duty Free store has also opened along with a Boots pharmacy, which has relocated from its previous landside location.

Commenting on the opening of the new departure lounge, Managing Director of Edinburgh Airport, Gordon Dewar said, "This is a historic moment for Edinburgh Airport, with the opening of our fantastic new departure lounge and the completion of the first phase of the biggest single development in the proud 32 year history of the airport.

"With more and more people passing through our airport, it is right to invest now in expanding the terminal building and improve facilities so our passengers enjoy the best possible experience, both when they depart and when they arrive.

"The fact this project has been delivered on time and on budget shows the hard work and professionalism of the team at the airport and Balfour Beatty who have been carrying out the work."

Balfour Beatty's BAA framework Director Steve O'Sullivan said: "We are delighted to have completed the first phase of this major expansion to the terminal building. It is a first-class facility and one that will enhance the journeys of the millions of passengers using Edinburgh Airport, Scotland's busiest airport and a key gateway for many first time visitors to Scotland."

* Edinburgh - the UK's fastest growing airport Edinburgh Airport is now the fastest growing of the UK's major airports, handling over 9 million passengers and 110,000 aircraft movements a year. Over 25 airlines operate to and from the airport, serving over 110 domestic and international destinations. International passengers have increased dramatically at the airport, with a near trebling of international passenger numbers in the last ten years.

Despite the economic downturn, Edinburgh Airport has continued to attract new airlines and new direct routes. This year alone has seen the commencement of 29 new international services to destinations across 11 different European countries, including Denmark, Norway, Turkey, Germany and Malta. Next year will also see the launch of the first ever direct scheduled service between Edinburgh and Florida, with weekly flights to Orlando Sanford operated by Flyglobespan.

Cllr Tom Buchanan, Convenor of Economic Development at Edinburgh City Council said,

"Edinburgh Airport is a key economic asset for the city. Whether it is for tourism, financial services or the growing life sciences sector, the airport is critical in connecting Scotland's Capital with the world, supporting jobs and driving economic growth.

"It has been great to see so many new direct flights operating to and from our airport over recent years and this fantastic new departure lounge shows the ambition the airport still has to further strengthen our city's international connections."

* The move to Phase 2

With the completion of the departure lounge extension, the terminal redevelopment project now moves into its second phase. This includes the construction of a brand new central search security area within the centre of the first floor of the terminal building.

All but one of the airport's landside shops will be closed to make way for the new security zone, which will provide a 50% increase in x-ray machines and a larger area for passengers to prepare for screening.

The current security area will continue to operate as normal during the works to minimise disruption to passengers. The whole redevelopment, which is being delivered via BAA's capital investment programme without the use of any public money, is due for final completion in spring 2011.