Edinburgh Airport seeks direct Las Vegas flights

The Las Vegas strip is a huge attraction for holidaymakers from Scotland. Picture: Getty
The Las Vegas strip is a huge attraction for holidaymakers from Scotland. Picture: Getty
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It is the universal land of excess and the gambling mecca of the world – a destination where roulette wheels and blackjack go hand in hand with showgirls and luxury hotels.

Now holidaymakers from Edinburgh could be able to fly direct to Las Vegas, with airport chiefs admitting it was an aspiration to have seasonal flights to the Nevada city.

The wishlist was revealed as a high-powered contingent of officials prepare to travel to the popular gambling destination for next month’s World Routes conference in the self-proclaimed “Sin City”.

Thousands of route development professionals from more than 100 countries will attend the global conference – which resembles a mass speed dating session with the world’s biggest airlines, from October 5-8.

Convincing an airline to launch a direct service from Edinburgh into the Middle East will be among the main priorities. Edinburgh head of airline business development Jonathan Rayner said he expected there would be direct flights into either Dubai, Doha or Abu Dhabi within two years.

He said: “It’s no secret at all that we need a Middle East service. We’ve needed a Middle East service for years.

“The business case for the Middle East is airtight. I’m very confident that we’ll have a service to the Middle East in the next two years.”

Mr Rayner said trans-Atlantic destinations were also “grossly underserved” from Edinburgh. Officials are targeting at least four regular routes into America within five years.

There are only two existing direct services – daily flights run by United Airlines to New York and a newly launched summer-only route to Chicago.

“There’s scope for holiday flights to Las Vegas,” Mr Rayner said. “There’s certain periods of time in the year when Las Vegas is very popular. It’s normally the beginning and end of the summer season.

“You can easily envisage two or three departures to Las Vegas at the start of the season and then Orlando, Mexico or the Dominican Republic for the bulk of the summer, then four or five departures to Las Vegas at the end of the season. It’s something we aspire to.”

Los Angeles – the home of Hollywood – and San Francisco are two obvious destinations for direct flights. Mr Rayner said the Chicago service was also expected to become year. Any routes secured at next month’s conference could start as early as next summer.

Whisky, golf and lochs flagged up

THE World Routes conference was started in 1995 as a means of allowing officials to hold face-to-face meetings with multiple airlines without flying all over the globe.

The first event was hosted in Cannes in southern France. Edinburgh had its turn to hold the annual conference ten years ago. Individual meetings last 20 minutes.

Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar and chairman Sir John Elvidge are both attending next month. The high income of Edinburgh residents, business tourism and the country’s whisky, golf and lochs will be used as major selling points.