It is definitely a case of fasten your seatbelt when it comes to developments at Edinburgh Airport. The £50 million investment in a new arrivals hall announced during a visit by Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday is just the latest move in a strong upwards surge.
Gatwick Airport’s owner, Global Infrastructure Partners, has pursued an aggressive expansion of services since taking control at Turnhouse three years ago, and the city is reaping the rewards.
The new facilities will allow the airport to triple the number of long-haul flights it offers in the coming years – after almost doubling them last year.
That means we can look forward to jetting off to many more corners of the globe direct from the Capital in the coming years, but the benefits will be felt way beyond our holiday planning.
Being well connected to the rest of Britain, Europe and the world is a vital part of being a successful city. As the Prime Minister said yesterday, it will mean “more tourism, more trade and more jobs” for Edinburgh, and the opportunities that creates will spread across the rest of the country too.
The new arrivals hall is part of a sustained £150m investment programme promised by GIP over five years which has fuelled speculation the owners may want to sell.
Does that matter when it means trading one owner based in New York City for another probably based overseas? Quite possibly not. While services and facilities are being improved to the benefit of customers, both regular and business travellers, there is a strong argument for saying “let’s not worry about what goes on behind the scenes”.
But any sale would bring with it uncertainty as to the new owner’s plans. And few cities anywhere in the world can boast an international airport run by a local lad with former Forrester High pupil Gordon Dewar at the helm.
That helps root the airport in the city and it would be a sad day should those ties be lost. In the meantime, we can sit back and enjoy the journey. Where to next? The Middle East? Across the Atlantic? Or somewhere else?