DIRECT flights from Edinburgh to the Middle East will start from next May, with the Capital’s first 787 Dreamliner service to be used on the brand new route.
Qatar Airways will run five flights a week between Edinburgh and Doha in a route that will open up a mass of destinations across Asia and Australia.
Flights will be available to Qatar’s capital city from May 28.
The announcement is a major coup for airport officials, who have been actively pursuing a direct route into the Middle East for the past 12 months.
The link will create a rival service with Emirates flights into Dubai that have been running out of Glasgow for the best part of a decade.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “This new direct service is excellent news for Scotland’s aviation sector and provides yet more evidence of the strong bonds we are building with Qatar.
“The Scottish Government has worked hard to foster links with the Gulf States, promoting Scotland as a market leader in oil and gas and a great place to do business.
“Direct services make Scotland a more attractive destination for both tourists and businesses by removing the need for extra connecting flights. This not only helps the economy by boosting tourism, but also encourages overseas trade and investment.
“The eyes of the world will turn to Scotland in 2014 with a programme of events that includes the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and a second Year of Homecoming and we are keen to share these exciting times with our friends around the world.”
Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “We’ve been promising our friends and partners across the city and the country a Middle Eastern route for a number of years now. I am ecstatic to be sharing this news today and would like to thank all for their patience and support.”