Air route development

Transport Scotland recognises the importance of international air connectivity to our nation's economy. We promote sustainable economic growth through helping to improve Scotland’s international air connections, providing enhanced access for business travellers and inbound tourists alike. We work in partnership with Scotland’s airports, colleagues in Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, VisitScotland and a host of UK and international airlines.

We continue to promote Scotland as a destination that can sustain more direct international air services and better links to international hub airports. The Scottish Government’s partnership with Heathrow Airport is an example of our dual approach to improving Scotland’s international air reach. This resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in October 2016.

Scotland’s airports are at the forefront of improving Scotland’s international air connectivity and developing new routes. Our work assists the airports in improving their networks and allows us to target routes that are strategically important for Scotland’s economy. We can provide airlines with attractive co-operative marketing packages and in-depth market intelligence on the real opportunities Scotland offers for airlines.

There are a number of previous examples of our successful partnerships with airports, including Edinburgh’s services to the Middle East, which were introduced in 2014 and 2015. It also has a venture with Norwegian Air Shuttle in 2017, which will open up 3 new destinations to the US. We worked with Glasgow Airport to deliver new Canadian connections in 2015 and 2016 and a New York JFK service beginning in 2017. At Aberdeen, we were pleased to be able to help secure a new service to Iceland in 2016 which links the North East to many destinations in the US.

We are also working with Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) and Glasgow Prestwick Airport to improve connectivity for their catchment areas (and Scotland more widely). HIAL has achieved some notable successes in recent years, including prestige new routes to Heathrow and Amsterdam. Glasgow Prestwick Airport’s route development work is considering opportunities in the UK and internationally.

Our future ambitions include new direct routes from Scotland to China, India and West Coast USA and we are working closely with Scotland’s airports and airlines to move Scotland’s international air connections to the next level.