Hopes soar for first direct flights between Scotland and China

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The first direct flights between Scotland and China have moved a step closer with a new deal between London and Beijing, the UK government claimed today.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling urged Scotland to take advantage of the further expansion in the number of permitted flights between the UK and China.

An extra 50 flights a week to and from non-London airports will be allowed after the total from the UK was increased from 40 to 100 last year, he told Scotland on Sunday.

A spokeswoman said: “Scotland’s airports could be set for the country’s first-ever scheduled services to China following a landmark deal on aviation access.”

She said that 41,000 visits were made from China to Scotland last year, which generated spending of £36 million. Scottish exports to China reached £2.5 billion in the year to September.

Edinburgh and Glasgow airports have long sought a Chinese route. The first non-London flights were launched from Manchester last year.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The agreement with China is certainly helpful”, while Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport said: “This is fantastic news and in my opinion brings the prospect of a direct Edinburgh China service even closer.”

A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said: “News of the deal to increase the number of permitted flights between the UK and China is extremely welcome.”