An Asian Odyssey …in Europe

Angus Duncan joins Hainan Airlines for its first departure from Scotland – and it’s first arrival into Ireland.

Hainan Airlines’ seasonal charter programme, which started on June 12, sees the carrier fly a four-times weekly triangle service from Beijing to Ireland via Edinburgh on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and to the Scottish capital via Dublin on Thursdays and Sundays.
AIRTEAMIMAGES/COM/ FELIX GOTTWALD

It’s not that long ago that Edinburgh Airport’s marketing slogan – ‘Where Scotland meets the world’ – might have been considered an ambitious statement of intent and little more. But a concerted effort by the airport’s operator, in partnership with local and national authorities, has seen the Scottish capital expand its network extensively over the past five years, adding an extra 50 daily movements to points in round the globe. This growth has been impressive, but what the airport – and the Scottish Government – has really longed for is a direct link to China. The Chinese Consul General in Edinburgh, Pan Xinchun, revealed former First Minister Alex Salmond was so keen to have a air services to the Asian powerhouse that he would raise the subject at every meeting with Chinese officials.

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