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First direct link between Scotland and Chicago launched at Edinburgh Airport

Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, attends airport event to celebrate airline launch

The first direct link between Scotland and Chicago was launched this morning with an inaugural event held at Edinburgh Airport attended by Scottish Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP.

The new direct daily service to O'€™Hare International Airport will run until October and gives Scottish passengers the opportunity to visit one of America'€™s most famous cities and take full advantage of the amazing connectivity to destinations across the US and Canada.

This link is expected to be a big draw for American tourists coming to Scotland this year for Edinburgh'€™s world-famous festivals, the Year of Homecoming and Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

The flight from Edinburgh will depart at 10:25 and arrive in Chicago at 13:00 (local time). The return flight will depart Chicago at 18:00 and arrive back in Edinburgh at 07:45 (local time) the following morning. Flight times are eight hours and 35 minutes westbound and seven hours and 45 minutes eastbound.

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: "Today's launch of United Airlines' new direct service to Chicago marks a significant step in achieving better connectivity between Edinburgh and North America.

"This new daily service will give Scottish passengers the opportunity to visit one of America's most exciting and vibrant cities and take full advantage of the onward travel options to many other US destinations.

"We're delighted to continue our good relationship with United and celebrate this new route's inaugural flight. It's something we've been looking forward to for some time.

"We've a phenomenal summer ahead with the Ryder Cup and our world-famous festivals just a few months away. We're excited to share our wonderful city with our American passengers and give them the very best experience when they arrive in Edinburgh."

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Nicola Sturgeon said: "I'm delighted to mark the launch of this direct service between Edinburgh and Chicago, a link that highlights the strong relationship between Scotland and the United States.

"This service will provide real benefits to Scotland'€™s economy, encouraging more tourism, trade and investment by reducing the need for travellers to make connecting flights via London or the continent.

"By cutting rates of Air Passenger Duty (APD) -€“ a move which is widely backed by the aviation industry, but something we don'€™t currently have the power to do - we could attract more direct flights like this to Scotland.

"I look forward to welcoming visitors from the US for Scotland'€™s exciting programme of events in 2014 which includes the Commonwealth Games, a second Year of Homecoming and of course the Ryder Cup, where Gleneagles looks to follow in the footsteps of Medinah and play host to another hugely successful sporting showpiece."