Pilot retiring after 35 years picks his 'favourite city in world' Edinburgh to fly from on final voyage to New York
AFTER nearly 35 years flying passengers to and from the world’s most iconic cities, airline pilot Andy Murphy had his pick of final routes.
So he chose Edinburgh, the welcoming city he fell in love with at first sight, to his base in New York as he headed into retirement.
And he was overwhelmed by the send-off, as a piper and fire truck water cannon salute accompanied his final taxi-out and caring colleagues decorated his plane’s cabin.
“I chose my last trip well,” said father-of-two Andy, 65. “Words fail me, nothing would ever suffice.
“I can only say, to all my good friends in Edinburgh, thank you again, for one of the greatest days of my life.”
“Nothing so remarkable about that: people retire every day,” he said. “What made that particular day so special, and one that I will remember every day for the rest of my life, is that my final flight, by choice, was from Edinburgh to New York, and knowing that, many wonderful friends and others came together to give me a Scottish send off the likes of which I never could have imagined.”
Stunning 24 hour stay
The couple were put up in the Old Town’s Radisson Blu and wined and dined at Italian eatery La Locanda on Cockburn Street.
“It was a stunning 24-hour stay in what has become my favorite city in the world,” gushed Andy. “Unbelievable warmth, hospitality and generosity.”
But even though the couple had become accustomed to the warmth of welcome bestowed by friends in the Capital over the years, they were left speechless by what followed.
“I cannot find the words to express my appreciation for what took place at the airport on the morning of our flight back to New York,” said Andy, from his home Stateside.
“A bagpiper in full traditional Scottish dress; over 100 passengers and airport staff clapping and taking pictures; several generous gifts; a beautiful home-made cake - thank you John Darrell - and at the heart of it all, my good friends.
“Over the course of three decades and 22,000 flight hours, I have flown into dozens of the world’s greatest cities: London and Los Angeles, Singapore and Stockholm, Madrid and Miami, and the list goes on and on,” said Andy.
“Yet I have known for some time now that when I retired, I wanted to make Edinburgh the departure point of my very last flight.
“There is nothing my wife Tammy - a Stewart with a Glaswegian grandmother - and I don’t love about Edinburgh, and Scotland, and the Scots.”
Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport said: “As someone who promotes Edinburgh and Scotland on a daily basis, it was fantastic to hear that Captain Murphy holds our capital city in such high regard and that we will forever feature in his memories when he reflects on a stellar career.
“We were only too happy to help send Captain Murphy off with a fond farewell from one of his favourite airports, and the quaich we presented to him is a sign of the bond we now have with Andy – it’s now time for him to put that quaich to good use and toast his career and retirement with a fine Scottish dram.”