Video: Behind the scenes at Edinburgh Airport’s iconic tower

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Up to 450 flights a day are guided by air traffic controllers at Scotland’s busiest airport.

More than 13.4 million passengers flew in to Edinburgh in 2017, making the capital’s airfield Scotland’s busiest airport.

Edinburgh Airport's iconic tower. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Edinburgh Airport's iconic tower. Picture: Ian Georgeson

During the peak summer months, more than 450 flights from 36 airlines take off and land from Edinburgh, under the watchful gaze of Edinburgh Airport’s iconic air traffic control tower.

From Scotland’s capital, passengers can be whisked off as far west as Cancun and the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, and as far east as China when Scotland’s first direct flight to Beijing takes off this summer.

Hainan Airlines will fly 4 weekly from Edinburgh to Beijing Capital International Airport from June 12.

Read more: Edinburgh Airport to announce China flights

Lit up at night, it's a welcome reference point for pilots in the dark. Pic: Ian Georgeson

Lit up at night, it's a welcome reference point for pilots in the dark. Pic: Ian Georgeson

Keeping the wheels greased at ‘Scotland’s busiest airport’ is General Manager of Air Traffic Services in Edinburgh, Sandy Legget.

Sandy and his team of Air Traffic Controllers work from the top of the 57-metre tall air traffic control tower with panoramic, 360-degree views around the airfield. So recognisable is the tower, that it was incorporated into the logo during a thorough rebranding of Edinburgh Airport in 2013.

“It’s a really a great place to be, as you can see,” said Sandy, as he showed us the surrounding view stretching from Arthur’s seat to the Forth Bridges.

Read more: Second US route from Edinburgh halted by Norwegian Air

“In peak summer we’ll see over 450 movements in a day - on average about 350 a day here in Edinburgh, covering all sorts of destinations.”

The Airport’s record year can’t be solely attributed to sun-seeking Scots, with local tourism attracting more visitors to Scotland than ever before.

“If you think, we’ve only got 6 million people here in Scotland, so that’s almost the whole of Scotland using us twice,” he said.

“Clearly, it’s passenger journeys, but it’s also people coming in to Scotland. It’s a fabulous place to visit, so we see a lot of people from all over the world coming here now.”