CHILDREN at Edinburgh Airport are certain to be entertained as a new flight-themed play area takes off.
The soft play zone – between gates 10 and 11 – gives holiday-bound youngsters the chance to burn off some energy before boarding their flights.
It is the third play area to be installed since January as airport bosses look to transform the Capital hub into Scotland’s most child-friendly airport.
Four-year-old Imogen Dyer and her brother, Lysander, one, were the first children to use the new play zone, spotting it as soon as they walked into the departure lounge.
Dad Keith, from Edinburgh, said it gave excited children something to do as parents sat and watched.
He said: “This is a fantastic idea and something which I think a lot of parents will be grateful for when they travel with young children. Both Imogen and Lysander were desperate to have a go in the soft play area from the minute they saw it.”
Fully equipped with slides, a mini climbing wall, tunnel and a couple of planes, hundreds of youngsters are expected to use the facility every day.
Play champion Councillor Keith Robson – tasked with getting the Capital’s kids up and active – hailed the idea. His family flew from Heathrow three weeks ago and made use of a similar scheme with his five-year-old.
He said: “It’s a good idea to let kids let off some steam and energy before they get on a plane. Parents can relax knowing their children are enjoying themselves in safe surroundings.
“There’s the initial excitement about going to an airport but if you get there too early, or if you’re unfortunately delayed, it can be less exciting for younger kids.”
The airport has been enjoying record passenger numbers this year with nearly 850,000 people passing through the terminal during April alone.
Domestic travel saw an increase of 5.5 per cent with 388,160 passengers – many of them children – and international passenger numbers also enjoyed an increase of 4.5 per cent with 454,212 people travelling that month.
John Watson, chief commercial officer at the airport, said: “We want passengers of all ages to have the best time at Edinburgh Airport. Our free soft play area allows children to run around and unwind in a safe environment before boarding their flight while their parents can relax and supervise.
“The investment in our play areas shows that we’re working hard to make sure our smallest passengers and their families have the best start to their trip.”
Sponsor Thomson was keen to make airport travel good fun for passengers of all ages.
Jeremy Ellis, marketing manager for TUI UK and Ireland, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Edinburgh Airport and feel this is a great opportunity for Thomson to showcase our family offering, giving customers a more child-friendly travelling experience at the airport.”