AN INFLUX of leisure and business travellers has contributed an estimated £5 million of economic benefit to Scotland since Qatar Airways launched its Edinburgh-Doha service last year, the airline has claimed.
Qatar Airways, which also flies from Heathrow and Manchester, said it had seen 20 per cent growth in passengers from the UK to Doha since the Edinburgh service was launched in June 2014.
Jon Harding, senior vice- president of the airline’s western and northern Europe region, said: “We are really pleased with the growth we’ve seen since we launched in Scotland.
“Passengers are not only experiencing the opportunities from new leisure destinations such as Doha, but also transiting to newer destinations, such as Bali, that they have not been able to access as easily before from Edinburgh.”
A company spokesman said: “The £5m figure is based on the average numbers flying into Edinburgh who are using our services, and the average spend you would attribute to them. We believe we have contributed strongly to the Scottish economy.
“Qatar Airways also meets small businesses and organisations such as the local Scottish chambers of commerce and have had strong feedback from them.
“Many SMEs are looking at the opportunities for extra business between Edinburgh and Doha. And they are not only going there, but looking at the potential in adjacent markets.
“The new route has given Scottish businesses the opportunity to go to places they did not before and trade there. Previously it was difficult, they had to go via Heathrow. It has provided extra convenience.”
In addition, Qatar Airways has offered greater cargo capacity into and out of the Scottish capital, the airline being the world’s third largest carrier in terms of cargo.
Qatar Airways created 20 jobs when it opened up the Edinburgh-Doha daily service, with seven flights a week. The group has also unveiled plans to open at a fourth UK terminal, Birmingham, next March.