China sus­pends di­rect Scot­tish route

Fish Farmer - - United Kingdom News -

THE only di­rect flights between Scot­land and China are to be sus­pended from Septem­ber, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

The route, which opened less than a year ago, was de­scribed by salmon com­pa­nies as a huge ad­van­tage in get­ting fresh fish to the grow­ing Chi­nese ex­port mar­ket as quickly as pos­si­ble.

The freight ser­vice, which pro­vided an al­ter­na­tive to trans­port­ing ex­ports to China via Heathrow or the Mid­dle East, was wel­comed at the time by Mowi, which sent more than three tonnes of salmon on the in­au­gu­ral flight last June.

How­ever, Hainan Air­lines is no longer tak­ing book­ings af­ter Septem­ber 1 on the Ed­in­burgh to Bei­jing flights, rais­ing fears that the ser­vice may be aban­doned al­to­gether.

Ge­orgina Wright, head of sales at Mowi, said:‘While we are dis­ap­pointed about the flight sus­pen­sion from Ed­in­burgh, we have lots of op­tions via Heathrow and Glas­gow for other mar­kets than China so there will be no neg­a­tive im­pact on our in­creas­ing ex­ports to the Chi­nese mar­ket or else­where in the world.’

The route also in­cludes a stopover at Dublin but pas­sen­ger in­ter­est in the four flights a week is un­der­stood to have been dis­ap­point­ing.

Travel agents and Ed­in­burgh Air­port linked the move to the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure to cut air taxes and the mat­ter was dis­cussed at First Min­is­ter’s ques­tions in the Scot­tish par­lia­ment last month.

Ni­cola Stur­geon said:‘We hope the ser­vice will re­turn for the sum­mer sea­son when pas­sen­ger num­bers are likely to be higher.We will work with the air­port and the air­line to se­cure that.’

One avi­a­tion source told The Scotsman: ‘They are stop­ping the ser­vice in Au­gust. It is al­most cer­tain it’s fi­nal as pas­sen­ger loads have been poor since the start.’

Above: A piper marked the first Hainan Air­lines di­rect flight to Ed­in­burgh last June

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