BRITISH Airways has announced the resumption of flights between Inverness and London Heathrow Airport.
The airline declared itself ‘open’ for business in Inverness with the arrival of the inaugural flight on its new daily service between Heathrow and the capital of the Highlands.
BA1468 touched down at Inverness Airport, marking the resumption of flights between Heathrow and Inverness after almost 18 years.
Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, welcome the return of the service after a long campaign.
He said: “Ninety per cent of international visitors to Scotland travel by air. This service will enable more of them to come here to experience what Inverness and the Highlands has to offer.
“It will not only be a boost to our tourism industry, it will also create greater opportunity for business and gives people living in the Highlands & Islands wider access to destinations around the world.
“It has been a challenge to re-establish a link with Heathrow and it is important now that it’s in place that we all play our part to make sure everyone is aware of the new service and get behind this great new opportunity.”
Stewart Nicol, Chief Executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, hailed the return as ‘a very significant development for the Highland business community’.
He said it would make it much easier for Highland businesses connect to their customers across the world, adding: “It is absolutely fantastic to welcome British Airways back to Inverness Airport.
“As the UK’s leading airline, and one of the world’s most iconic commercial airline brands, their endorsement of the region cannot be understated. Inverness Chamber of Commerce wishes British Airways every success with this new route and looks forward to working with them to develop the frequency of flights.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive at VisitScotland, said: “We’re delighted to welcome this daily British Airways service from Heathrow to Inverness, which is another excellent boost to Scottish tourism and Scotland’s growing air connectivity.
“This new route tees up a fantastic opportunity for visitors from London and the South East, an important target market, to fly directly into the heart of the Highlands where they can explore the stunning landscapes of the North Coast 500, test their swing at one of the many world-class golf courses, such as Scottish Open hosts, Castle Stuart, and sample the spirit of Scotland on a whisky trail.”
Keith Chuter, British Airways’ sales manager for Scotland/UK, who flew to Inverness on board the inaugural flight, said: “We are delighted to be back in the heart of the Highlands, helping boost the area’s economy by bringing tourists from all over the world to this beautiful city and its environs, and by linking the region’s ever-growing business community with the global marketplace.”
Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of Inverness Airport operator HIAL, added: “This is an historic moment for Inverness Airport and for the Highlands.
“We are delighted to welcome British Airways back to Inverness.
“By securing the return of British Airways and gaining access to Heathrow at the same time, the region has achieved something of a coup.
“The Heathrow link will transform international access to and from the Highlands, making it easier for businesses to connect and overseas visitors to holiday in the region.”