A new link between Scotland and North America starts operating today with Air Canada now serving Edinburgh Airport directly from its hub in Toronto.
The service - which was announced in December last year - will see three scheduled flights per week between July and October and is expected to bring an economic boost to both the local and national economy.
The service is also one of the first to operate under the new ‘Air Canada Rouge’ brand, a subsidiary of Air Canada.
Welcoming the start of the service, SNP MEP Alyn Smith said:
“Canada is one of Scotland’s largest international visitor markets with more than 100,000 visitors in 2011, injecting £83m into the economy. This new direct route to Toronto will increase on that and provide a boost for economies both sides of the Atlantic, as well as the huge cultural and business links that already exist between the two countries.
“Edinburgh already has an impressive connection to major transport hubs with direct connections to Newark, Schipol, Charles De Gaulle and London but this opens up yet another. Toronto Pearson has direct links to all six continents and over 100 destinations, which will mean more a choice and competition for consumers.
“Air Canada should be congratulated on their initiative with this service and I’m sure that it will be a success. Scotland’s airports need more direct routes, unfortunately we are held back currently by the refusal of the Tory Government to devolve Air Passenger duty, which would allow us to offer a more attractive option to airlines.
“With a ‘Yes’ vote next year will be able to capitalise on the fantastic services we have to offer in Scotland, boosting our economy and options for consumers.”
Commenting, the Honorary Consul of Canada in Edinburgh John Rafferty said:
"I am delighted to welcome the new Air Canada Rouge service.
“Business and cultural links between Canada and Scotland are already strong, and I am also very pleased to see increasing numbers of students taking the opportunity to cross the Atlantic and to undertake part of their studies in one of the many academic institutions in the other country.
“Tourism will of course also benefit from the convenient link, and I look forward to welcoming many more Canadians to Scotland."
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Keir, whose constituency Edinburgh Western includes Edinburgh Airport, said:
“I congratulate Gordon Dewar and his team at Edinburgh Airport in bringing yet another major airline to the city. This will be of major benefit to the Edinburgh and Scottish economy. The links between Scotland and Canada are traditionally strong and this new service can only build on what we already have.
“However, we can do even better. Devolution of APD would enable the Scottish Government to incentivise airlines to provide more direct international routes into Edinburgh, providing passengers with enhanced options as they go about their business more freely and more effectively.”