A new direct flight route from Scotland to China is to be launched.

Edinburgh Airport will welcome the service to Beijing by Hainan Airlines this summer.

The airline will operate flights twice-weekly between Scotland’s busiest airport and the Chinese capital from June 26 until October 8.

This will be the only direct flight connecting Scotland and China when it begins operating.

Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “The return of direct flights to Beijing is fantastic news as we gear up for a hugely exciting summer, and is further evidence of the strong recovery we’re seeing here at Edinburgh.

“This service will be the only one operating between Scotland and China when it is introduced and is a real show of faith in the market by Hainan Airlines."

He also said: "This important connectivity will provide a boost to Scotland’s universities and tourism industry, open up a wealth of new business opportunities, and enable better access to other parts of the world.

“We’re sure it will be highly valued whether it be by students travelling between the two countries to study, families reconnecting, or tourists travelling to visit new places.”

Transport Minister Kevin Stewart said: “I welcome the announcement of this direct service between Edinburgh Airport and Beijing, which is an important development for both Edinburgh and Scotland’s international connectivity.

“This direct connectivity is great news for people and businesses in both Scotland and China, building strong links for business and exports, as well as making it easier for visitors and students to come and experience Scotland.”

Prices range from around £750 in economy class to £2,600 in business class for the 10-hour-plus journey. 

An earlier flight between the two capitals between 2018 and 2019, which stopped at Dublin, was hailed by business leaders.

“An air bridge to China from a Scottish airport has been the Holy Grail of the ‘global connections’ strategy for a decade or more, and subject of commercial negotiation since 2012,” Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said at the time.

UK Government guidance on flights to China has recently changed.

It said: “From April 29, 2023  China has changed its Covid-19 entry requirements for all travellers entering the country. You must undertake a lateral flow/rapid antigen test 48 hours before boarding your flight.

“Passengers entering China displaying symptoms of fever, or with an abnormal health declaration, may be asked to undertake a rapid antigen test on arrival. Those who test positive will be asked to wear a mask and may be advised to self-isolate whilst symptoms remain, although there is no mandatory self-isolation for Covid-19.”

TransPennine Express services to be nationalised


Train services run by West Coast Main Line operator TransPennine Express will be nationalised after months of delays and cancellations.

UK Government Transport Secretary Mark Harper announced the decision to bring the operator’s services under Government control, but warned it is “not a silver bullet”.

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