Hilton Hotels & Resorts launches in prime Edinburgh locale

In response to the rising needs of tourists and travellers, Hilton Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of Hilton Edinburgh Carlton – the eighth Hilton Hotels & Resorts hotel in the country.

More than four million tourists visit Edinburgh yearly.

Located less than 10 miles from Edinburgh Airport and a short walk away from Edinburgh’s main attraction, Hilton Edinburgh Carlton is also within walking distance from the famous Royal Mile, and overlooks the beautiful St. Giles’ Cathedral. The hotel is close to Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street, as well as to some of the UK’s top companies making it an ideal location for both business and leisure travellers.

Andreas Lackner, vice president, area brand management, Hilton Worldwide, said, ‘Hilton Edinburgh Carlton offers a chic hotel experience in a prime Edinburgh locale with its sleek design, top-notch amenities and all the benefits and high-quality service expected from Hilton Hotels & Resorts. We are delighted to be extending our footprint in Scotland and to welcome guests from all over the world, especially with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival taking place this month, attracting thousands of visitors.’

The hotel, owned and operated by Amaris Hospitality, offers 211 guest rooms, including junior suites and executive rooms, to serve the needs of business and leisure travellers. All rooms are equipped with a desk, 40-inch TV and modern bathroom. Guests staying in executive rooms can enjoy complimentary snacks and drinks in the hotel’s Executive Lounge throughout the day.

With seven exclusive meeting spaces that can accommodate up to 200 people, Hilton Edinburgh Carlton caters to events and occasions. The hotel also offers customised dining options for private events along with dedicated breakout spaces. Hilton Edinburgh Carlton also features Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill, offering a classic dining menu, along with signature dishes and drinks.

Hilton Edinburgh Carlton participates in Hilton HHonors, the guest-loyalty programme for Hilton Worldwide. In celebration of the hotel’s opening, Hilton HHonors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels will receive 5,000 bonus points for a three-night minimum stay (valid through October 31, 2016), along with instant benefits including an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi and digital check-in.

Nordic Aviation launches new Tallinn route from Edinburgh

Nordic Aviation has announced a new thrice-weekly service between Tallinn and Edinburgh for this summer, according to Edinburgh Airport.

Nordic Aviation’s new service is Scotland’s only flight to Estonia. The service will commence on May 28 and operate until October 3, 2016, and will be operated in cooperation with Adria Airways aboard modern CRJ-900 jets.

Nordic Aviation board member Erik Sakkov said, ‘Edinburgh’s rich historical heritage makes it perfect for Estonian holiday makers who will enjoy a unique combination of ancient Scottish and modern European culture.

Moreover, I’m sure that Tallinn and Estonia have a lot to offer for Scottish people too. Our country’s beautiful medieval capital, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Estonia’s diverse nature and fascinating cultural traditions make it possible that everyone will find something for themselves.’

Edinburgh Airport’s chief executive Gordon Dewar said: ‘We are delighted that Edinburgh Airport has a direct new flight into Tallinn and the three times weekly service which is perfectly-timed for weekend city-breaks.

‘This announcement is yet further confirmation of Edinburgh Airport’s position as the leader for business and tourism connectivity between Scotland and international destinations.

‘It is greatly encouraging that Nordic Aviation recognises the growing demand for connectivity to and from Edinburgh – and this new service adds to our city’s and Scotland’s growing international profile.

‘With over 11 million passengers through the doors at Edinburgh Airport in 2015 – we are continuing to grow, create jobs and make a positive contribution for Scotland’s economy.’

Edinburgh Airport has also recently announced January’s passenger numbers showing 700,142 people passed through the airport in the first month of the year. The change represents double digit growth from January 2015, with a 21.7 per cent annual hike in the number of international passengers.

Edinburgh Airport announces direct flights to Dusseldorf

Edinburgh Airport has confirmed that Eurowings, part of the Lufthansa Group, is set to launch a new direct flight between Scotland’s capital and Dusseldorf Airport in March next year.

Edinburgh Airport’s chief executive Gordon Dewar said that the thrice-weekly flight offers enhanced options for passengers and business links direct between Scotland and mainland Europe. The new service, which will operate on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, will commence on March 27, 2015.

Gordon Dewar said: ‘I am delighted that Edinburgh Airport has a direct new flight into the heart of Dusseldorf; this offers even greater choice and is further confirmation of Edinburgh Airport’s position as a leader for business connectivity between Scotland and the continent.

‘Credit is due to Eurowings for recognising the growing demand for connectivity from Edinburgh. Confirmation of this route between Scotland’s capital and Dusseldorf Airport shows they share similar aspirations for business growth as we do.

‘With over one million passengers through the doors at Edinburgh Airport last month – and in every one of the last five months – we are continuing to grow, create jobs and make a positive contribution for Scotland’s economy.’

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: ‘Germany already makes up our single biggest European market and is our second largest international market. Last year Scotland welcomed 343,000 trips by our German friends – almost a fifth more than in 2013. Air services play an important part in growing the visitor economy and we are particularly delighted to see such a strong operator as Eurowings increasing its position in Scotland.

‘German visitors see Scotland as an ideal destination for ‘romantic adventurers’ and can be found travelling to all corners of the country to explore our diverse cities and beautiful landscape. With this exciting addition to Scotland’s air routes, we look forward to welcoming even more of our German friends next year.’

A part of the Lufthansa Group, Eurowings already serves Cologne from Edinburgh. Lufthansa also flies to Frankfurt from Edinburgh, and two airlines within the same group – Brussels Airlines and Edelweiss Airlines (Swiss) – also serve Edinburgh to Brussels and to Zurich respectively.


Delta, Virgin announce new route between New York JFK and Edinburgh

Delta and Virgin Atlantic Airways will commence a daily service from Edinburgh Airport direct to New York JFK starting May 27, 2016.

With the addition of Delta’s service to New York, passengers will have increased choice in both direct routes to New York, as well as better connectivity across all of North America via Delta’s extensive network and Sky Team alliance at New York JFK.

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said, ‘Edinburgh to New York is a flagship route between two vibrant economic and cultural power houses. The strong bonds between Scotland and America are well known and we look forward to welcoming even more inbound visitors from throughout America to Scotland’s capital city, and similarly assist more Scots in visiting North America.’

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, Keith Brown, said: ‘Scotland and the United States share strong cultural and economic bonds, so this new direct service between Edinburgh and New York will only serve to strengthen these links.

‘Of course, we could attract more direct international flights like this to Scotland by cutting rates of Air Passenger Duty, and I once again call on the UK Government to transfer these powers to the Scottish Parliament as soon as possible.’

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland added: ‘We are delighted that Delta has chosen to launch a direct service from New York to Edinburgh. The United States continues to be our biggest international market for inbound tourism but there is always room for growth. Direct route improvements over the last two years have helped boost visitor numbers and this new route will tap in to Delta’s vast North American network opening up even more opportunities for US visitors to come to Scotland.’

The airline will offer all passengers on-demand access to in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the aircraft. Those travelling in the Delta One cabin will also benefit from full flat-bed seats and a range of personalised dining options.

Etihad Airways announces new daily Edinburgh – Abu Dhabi service

Etihad Airways, the United Arab Emirates’ national carrier, is looking to connect the Middle East to the Scottish capital with the launch of daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Edinburgh, starting this week.

Etihad Airways’ first Scottish destination, the Edinburgh service is its third in the UK, alongside a triple-daily operation to London Heathrow and double-daily flights to Manchester.

The new service is expected to provide connections through the Abu Dhabi hub to some of the most popular holiday destinations and trade centres for the Scottish economy in the Middle East, Indian sub-continent, Asia and Australia. Operated using a two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft, the service offers a total of 22 seats in Business Class and 240 seats in Economy Class.

Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer for Etihad Airways, said: ‘Scotland is the natural next step on our growth trajectory in the UK, with strong tourism and business traffic in both directions. We have been impressed by the welcome we have received from Edinburgh Airport and from the Scottish tourism industry. Many local stakeholders have played a part in attracting us to the city and welcoming us here, and we’re confident this service will be a great success.

‘As the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi is also an important business and financial hub across many industry sectors. With more than 110 direct destinations – and hundreds more through our partners – we can connect Scottish travellers wherever they need to go, for business or for leisure. Additionally, for Scottish trade and tourism, we will be able to bring in leisure and business visitors from many of these destinations.’

For leisure customers and families, Edinburgh – the UK’s largest tourist centre outside London – attracts over a million overseas tourists each year. Notably, Edinburgh is the second most popular British city for Australians, eight per cent of whom have Scottish ancestry. Etihad Airways currently connects directly to Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne and onward to around 40 further destinations across Australia, through the partnership with Virgin Australia.

For businesses and trade, the UAE is already a major trade partner for Scotland in the Middle East. According to data released at the end of 2014 by the UK’s Office for National Statistics, bilateral trade between the UAE and UK reached more than £12.36 billion in 2013.


Ryanair announces expanded services for winter 2015

Irish low fares airline Ryanair has announced plans to increase flights on its Edinburgh to London service from four to five times daily, as part of its expanded winter 2015 schedule.

Ryanair’s Edinburgh winter 2015 schedule includes two new routes to Frankfurt Hahn and Santander, adding to a total of 18 routes, and extra flights on five routes: Alicante, Krakow, London Stansted and Malaga & Tenerife, which is expected to deliver two million customers p.a. and support 2,000 ‘on-site’ jobs at Edinburgh Airport.

Next winter, Scottish, business and leisure travellers and families can choose 18 routes to/from Edinburgh, while enjoying allocated seating, a free second carry-on bag, reduced fees, a new website, and a new app with mobile boarding passes.

Ryanair celebrated the launch of its extra flights to London by releasing 100,000 seats for sale across its European network, at prices from £19.99 for travel in June. These low fare seats are available for booking until midnight today.

Ryanair’s Head of Communications, Robin Kiely said: ‘Due to overwhelming demand, we are increasing flights on our Edinburgh – London service from 4 to 5 times daily, as part of our expanded winter 2015 schedule, which includes 2 new routes to Frankfurt Hahn and Santander (18 in total) and more flights on 4 other routes, which will deliver 2m customers p.a. and support 2,000 on site jobs at Edinburgh Airport.

Ryanair will continue to connect Edinburgh with Europe’s key centres of business, with more flights and improved schedules to and from major cities including Brussels, Dublin, and Rome, making Ryanair the ideal choice for business customers, and reaffirming Edinburgh as a gateway to Europe.’

Ryanair has also announced that it will increase flights on its Liverpool to Dublin service from three to four times daily, Manchester to Dublin service from five to six times daily, and Birmingham to Dublin service from four to six times daily. To celebrate these extra business flights Ryanair has also launched a seat sale with fares on these routes starting from £9.99 for travel in October and November.


Edinburgh Airport asks for earlier reduction of APD

Edinburgh Airport has urged the Scottish Government to act immediately and set a timetable for the reduction of Air Passenger Duty (APD), so that airlines and the tourism industry may plan for the change.

The push comes after a new report by the airport said that the promised 50% reduction in APD will create 3,800 jobs by 2020 and stimulate £200m of economic benefits each year. The report, produced in partnership with independent consultancy firm York Aviation, confirms the findings of previous studies that APD is a significant barrier to growth.

The airport’s chief executive, Gordon Dewar said: ‘We’ve long argued that APD is a tax on Scotland’s ability to compete with European airport of or size, and our economy is footing the bill in lost jobs and lost opportunities. It’s also damaging the ability for our passengers to travel and to take advantage of the amazing connectivity we have from Edinburgh.

‘Our report shows that the economic benefit of a reduction will outweigh any lost tax revenues. It’s therefore reasonable for passengers, airlines and the tourism industry to have some certainty on when this regressive tax will be reduced, and to know whether it will eventually be scrapped.’

The new report also claims that if APD is not reduced, Scotland will lose out on one million passengers a year and would cost the Scottish economy up to £68 million in lost tourism expenditure every year.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: ‘Scotland is a must-visit tourism destination and, every year, we welcome millions of visitors from all over the world.

‘There is no doubt, however, that Air Passenger Duty is acting as a major deterrent to many potential visitors. Few other EU countries levy APD, so this places Scottish tourism at a competitive disadvantage.

‘We are pleased that, as of May, APD will no longer apply to under 12s and that fiscal authority for APD will ultimately be transferred to the Scottish Government, as recommended by the Smith Commission.’


easyJet announce new routes for summer, adds capacity at Edinburgh Airport

easyJet, the UK-based low-fares airline, has announced the launch of three new routes for summer 2015.

The three new services – from London Gatwick to Preveza in Greece and Pula in Croatia, and from Stansted to Monastir in Tunisia – broaden the range of holiday options for easyJet passengers. The new service to Preveza will operate twice weekly from May 17, 2015 to October 21, 2015 on Wednesdays and Sundays, with fares starting from £44.99 one way.

Pula will operate twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays from June 23, 2015 to October 24, 2015. Fares start from £40.99 one way. Meanwhile the new summer service from Stansted to Monastir will operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays from June 2, 2015. Fares start from £38.99 one way.

With the addition, the airline will operate 170,000 flights to and from the UK between March 29 and October 24 to 118 destinations. Sophie Dekkers, easyJet’s UK Director, said: ‘The addition of these new services underlines our continued commitment to expanding our network and we are sure that these new routes will be very popular with passengers.’

In addition, easyJet is also set to add nearly 70,000 extra seats on 19 of its routes to and from Edinburgh Airport this summer, according to a release by the airport.

Between May 22 and July 21, the airline will offer 68,500 extra seats from Edinburgh on routes including Paris Charles De Gaulle, Madrid, Nice, Amsterdam and Naples. With the addition, Scottish passengers will have more direct flights to choose from with prices from £26.99 to Hamburg, £34.99 to Berlin, and £28.99 to Nice.

John Watson, Chief Commercial Officer at Edinburgh Airport, said: ‘This is great news for our passengers and means we can now offer even more choice in our already extensive easyJet route network. It’s getting to the point in the year when people are starting to think about their summer holidays so there is no better time to travel from Edinburgh with easyJet to some of Europe’s most popular destinations.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s Head of Scotland commented: ‘For business passengers these extra seats mean that we have more connections to key cities across Europe including Berlin, Copenhagen and Paris Charles de Gaulle. Additionally, easyJet’s unique Scotland Flex offer means that passengers can fly back early from any London Airport to any Scottish airport.’


Scandinavian Airlines to launch new Scandinavian flights from Edinburgh

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has announced plans to launch a new service between Edinburgh and Copenhagen in March 2015.

In addition, services to Oslo and Stockholm will also return to Edinburgh on March 29, strengthening the connection between Edinburgh and three Scandinavian capitals.

The new services between Edinburgh and Copenhagen will fly five times per week and will then increase to daily between June 29 and August 9. It will then operate six times per week until the end of October. Flights to Stockholm will be on a daily basis and those to Oslo will operate twice a week on Thursday and Sunday.

Commenting on the announcement, Denise Hill, Head of International Marketing at VisitScotland said: ‘Scandinavia is a lucrative market for Scotland and we are delighted to welcome yet more visitors with the introduction of these exciting new direct routes into Edinburgh Airport.

‘However as we work to extend Scotland’s international network, adding major international hubs and attracting airlines which are part of the world’s great airline alliances is key. SAS is a key partner of the important Star Alliance, the leading global airline network.

‘Creating as many links as we can with Star Alliance partners increases Scotland’s connectivity with the world, enabling visitors to reach our stunning country from every single corner of the planet. This really is excellent news for Scotland.’

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: ‘We’re committed to growing through choice and this is at the heart of everything we do at Edinburgh Airport. We want to make sure our passengers are able to choose from the very best range of flights and services.

‘Scandinavia is an important destination for us to serve and is a popular choice for passengers travelling for both for leisure and business.

‘We’re delighted SAS will be joining us again with these new services which will link us into the impressive connectivity options available from the hub in Copenhagen.’


Edinburgh Airport changes drop-off area for better customer experience

Edinburgh Airport has announced the modification of its terminal drop-off area to serve increased passenger numbers, enhance service and to make it easier for drivers, while alleviating congestion.

The changes are introduced as the airport continually seeks feedback from customers, with feedback that taxis using the drop-off zone to wait for pick-ups are causing congestion.

As part of the changes that are being implemented through the summer, the drop-off area has been reconfigured to cut down on queues, maintain the availability of blue badge spaces and encourage better traffic flow.

A new separate pick-up zone has been created next to the drop-off area. A separate entrance and exit to the pick-up zone will make it easier for vehicles to come and go without having to drive towards the terminal around the main airport approach road, the airport said.

Additionally, to lessen congestion in the drop-off area, the time bands on charges have been changed so that drivers do not stay longer. From September 01, drivers who spend between five and 10 minutes in the drop-off area will be charged £3. The £1 charge remains for the majority of drivers who pass through in five minutes or less.

The airport added that the free drop-off area in the airport’s long stay car park will remain available for those who don’t wish to pay the £1 charge. Also, blue badge holders will be unaffected by the new charging regime.

Richard Townsend, Head of Retail and Property at Edinburgh Airport, said: ‘At Edinburgh Airport we work hard to make sure that we’re developing our services and facilities to meet the expectations of our passengers and airlines.

‘These changes are necessary to make sure that, as our airport continues to grow, we offer our customers a convenient, efficient pick-up and drop-off experience.

‘A free drop-off zone will still be available but the one million vehicles which use the drop-off area on a yearly basis show that people still want to use this facility.’

In June, 87 percent of passengers that used the drop-off area passed through in 3.5 minutes, the airport noted.