Emirates yesterday touched down at Edinburgh Airport for the first time as the carrier’s Boeing 777-300ER landed at Edinburgh Airport just before 15.00h before returning to Dubai just before 20.00h.
The daily service is the second Emirates route into Scotland as the airline started flying into and out of Glasgow Airport in April 2004 and it is the 8th route in the UK. The B777 has capacity for 20 tonnes of cargo.
Emirates was welcomed with a water cannon salute as it parked up and was given a full Scottish welcome as bag pipe players welcomed passengers, government officials and other representatives on the flight.
As the airline arrives Etihad Airways has pulled its long-haul service from Abu Dhabi leaving sizeable gap in the market. Qatar Airways flies to Doha from Edinburgh.
Emirates senior divisional vice president, Hubert Frach said there were extensive cargo opportunities through the new Edinburgh route and explained it now moves 140,000 tonnes of cargo through its UK network a year.
“We expect a lot of opportunities from Scotland such as salmon, seafod generally, Scottish whisky,” he said. Frach added the new service will give Scottish exporters more access to global markets through its network.
Scottish salmon exporters have in recent times long argued the need for long-haul connections to meet demand and at present much is trucked down south to Heathrow Airport to be loaded on flights across the globe.
Edinburgh chief executive, Gordon Dewar said the Emirates route was 10 years in the making and it was held up due to issues such as the global financial crisis. It is the airport’s 14th long-haul service, and just over six years ago it only had one.
Dewar said these long-haul services have boosted cargo figures and he said the airport has developed more facilities to cope with rising numbers as tonnage rises.
Other destinations which Emirates serves in the UK, include London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester and Glasgow. The carrier now operates 19 daily flights to the UK from Dubai.