British Airways today declared itself “Open” for business in Inverness with the arrival of the inaugural flight on its new daily service between Heathrow and the capital of the Highlands.
BA1468 touched down at Inverness Airport, marking the resumption of flights between Heathrow and Inverness after almost 18 years.
Keith Chuter, British Airways’ sales manager, Scotland/UK, who flew to Inverness on board the inaugural flight, said:
“We are delighted to be back in the heart of the highlands, helping boost the area’s economy by bringing tourists from all over the world to this beautiful city and its environs, and by linking the region’s ever-growing business community with the global marketplace.
“Only a matter of weeks from today, we will be carrying golf fans to Inverness to watch some of the world’s best players as they compete for the Scottish Open Golf championship at Castle Stuart Golf Links.
“Many of those fans will have come from every corner of the globe, connecting through our T5 home, a clear demonstration so early in the new route’s life of how British Airways’ network of almost 130 destinations will connect Inverness and the highlands and islands of Scotland with the world.
“We appreciate that the local business community has lobbied long and hard for British Airways to resume services to Inverness as an important element in boosting the economy of the city and the region as a whole.
“The arrival this morning of BA1468from Heathrow marks an important day for everyone involved.
“I know that the business community and the people in the region are delighted that British Airways has returned to Inverness.
“So are we.”
The new route has been welcomed by national bodies such as VisitScotland and by the business community in Inverness and the surrounding area.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive at VisitScotland, said:
“We’re delighted to welcome this daily British Airways service from Heathrow to Inverness, which is another excellent boost to Scottish tourism and Scotland’s growing air connectivity.
“This new route tees up a fantastic opportunity for visitors from London and the South East, an important target market, to fly directly into the heart of the Highlands where they can explore the stunning landscapes of the North Coast 500, test their swing at one of the many world-class golf courses, such as Scottish Open hosts, Castle Stuart, and sample the spirit of Scotland on a whisky trail.”
Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, said:
"Ninety per cent of international visitors to Scotland travel by air.
"This service will enable more of them to come here to experience what Inverness and the Highlands has to offer.
"It will not only be a boost to our tourism industry, it will also create greater opportunity for business and gives people living in the Highlands & Islands wider access to destinations around the world.
“It has been a challenge to re-establish a link with Heathrow and it is important now that it’s in place that we all play our part to make sure everyone is aware of the new service and get behind this great new opportunity.”
Stewart Nicol, Chief Executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the reintroduction of the Inverness – Heathrow link:
"This is a very significant development for the Highland business community, not only in terms of increasing the connectivity between Inverness and London and the South-East of the UK, but also by making it much easier for Highland businesses connect to their customers across the world.
"It is absolutely fantastic to welcome British Airways back to Inverness Airport.
"As the UK’s leading airline, and one of the world’s most iconic commercial airline brands, their endorsement of the region cannot be understated. Inverness Chamber of Commerce wishes British Airways every success with this new route and looks forward to working with them to develop the frequency of flights."
Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of Inverness Airport operator HIAL, said:
“This is an historic moment for Inverness Airport and for the Highlands.
We are delighted to welcome British Airways back to Inverness.
"By securing the return of British Airways and gaining access to Heathrow at the same time, the region has achieved something of a coup.
"The Heathrow link will transform international access to and from the Highlands, making it easier for businesses to connect and overseas visitors to holiday in the region.
“We have so much to offer tourists this year including the Scottish Open, taking place at nearby Castle Stuart in July.
“Golf tourism in Scotland has become increasingly popular, attracting high spending visitors from across Europe, Asia and North America.
“With Castle Stuart progressing plans for a new golf resort, the launch of these new British Airways flights is particularly timely and could provide highly lucrative for the regional economy, generating an extra 50,000 inbound visitors and up to £8 million spend in visitor spend.”
Alistair Simpson, chief executive of Moray Chamber of Commerce, said:
“We are delighted that British Airways has launched its new service.
“It will provide enhanced travel options to and from the Moray area, which is essential in showcasing what Moray has to offer for business people and visitors travelling to and from our wonderful part of the world.”
- ENDS -
Notes to Editors
Lead in fares on the Heathrow – Inverness service are:
Inverness to Heathrow one way £40.49
Inverness to Heathrow return £75.30
Heathrow to Inverness one way £66.81
Heathrow to Inverness return £75.30
(all including taxes/fees/charges)
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