The first direct link between Scotland and Chicago has been launched at Edinburgh Airport, with the inaugural event attended by Scottish deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP.
The new United Airlines service to O’Hare International Airport will operate five times weekly until June 12, daily from June 13 to September 2, and four times weekly between September 3 and October 6.
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.
The new service is expected to attract significant numbers of American tourists to Scotland this year for Edinburgh’s world-famous festivals, the Year of Homecoming and Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. It will also give Scottish passengers the opportunity to visit one of America’s most famous cities, as well as improving connectivity to destinations across the US and Canada.
Commenting on the launch, 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’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.’
Highlighting the benefits of the service, 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.
‘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.’