Washington DC flights from Edinburgh announced

United already operates flights between Edinburgh and New York Newark
United already operates flights between Edinburgh and New York Newark
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Edinburgh's first flights to Washington DC will take off next year, United Airlines announced today.

However, it will also halve its twice-daily flights between the Scottish capital and Newark in New York to daily at the same time, The Scotsman has learned.

The new summer-only service will start on 23 May, with daily flights until October.

It will be the first direct link between Scotland and the US capital since flights from Glasgow in the early 1990s.

United launched Edinburgh-New York flights in 2004 but now competes with Delta and American Airlines, and budget airline Norwegian launched flights to nearby airports in June.

The airline has also operated summer flights between the Scottish capital and Chicago since 2014.

It will reduce its year-round Glasgow-Newark flights to summer only from next month for the first time since it launched the route 19 years ago, as The Scotsman revealed in July.

News of the Washington DC route comes a day after Edinburgh announced its busiest ever August and second busiest month ever, when it handled 1.4 million passengers.

The further growth of Scotland's busiest airport comes despite its repeated calls for air passenger duty to be reduced, with ministers planning to halve the tax next year.

Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “This is fantastic news for Edinburgh Airport and Scotland as we connect our two capital cities for the first time.

“As Scotland’s busiest airport, we are a leader for international destinations, and this demonstrates the confidence of US carriers in the Edinburgh market, standing ahead of other parts of the UK with such strong inbound tourism demand.

“Our partners at United have seen first-hand the positive impact of flights from Edinburgh to New York Newark and Chicago, and we are keen to replicate that to Washington for both a business and tourist audience."

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: "The launch of a direct route into America’s capital city is great news for Scottish businesses, giving them better access to important US markets through United’s hub operation.

"It will also help support our tourism industry by making it even easier for visitors to get a taste of the fantastic experiences Edinburgh, and Scotland as a whole, have to offer."