Finnair has celebrated its inaugural flight between Edinburgh and Helsinki.
The journey – which takes less than three hours – allows passengers from Scotland to take the shortcut to Asia with just one smooth and fast transfer via the Finnish capital.
A traditional water cannon salute and Scottish bagpiper welcomed the aircraft as it landed in Edinburgh.
Finnair now operates three flights a week between the two capitals using a 138-seat Airbus A319 aircraft in a dual business and economy class configuration.
To offer summer travellers even greater flexibility when flying with Finnair, a fourth-weekly flight will operate on Wednesdays between June 22nd and August 10th 2016.
Today’s launch allows Finnair passengers from Edinburgh to travel in comfort and style to Hong Kong in just 13 hours and 15 minutes, Beijing in only 14 hours and 5 minutes, and Seoul in 14 hours and 30 minutes.
Helsinki Airport has grown into a major transfer hub for Europe to Asia travel, with Finnair offering 77 weekly flights to 17 Asian destinations from Helsinki Airport in summer 2016.
Among those attending the inaugural festivities was Fredrik Charpentier, Finnair area vice president EMEA who said: “We are delighted to bring our award-winning Finnair product to Scotland.
“Passengers value our exceptional Nordic on board hospitality and the quick and convenient transfers through our Helsinki hub.
“With the arrival of our new long-haul Airbus A350 aircraft, onward passengers can experience the latest in technology and comfort while travelling to Asia’s top leisure and business destinations.” Finnair passengers travelling onwards to Asia also have the opportunity to select a wide variety of activities and tours in Finland thanks to Finnair’s new Stopover Finland programme.
With Finland’s capital just half an hour from Helsinki Airport, Stopover customers can enjoy Helsinki’s refreshing seaside atmosphere, design district, world-class restaurants and even experience a traditional Finnish sauna between flights.
For fans of the great outdoors, untouched nature is never far away, with Stopover passengers able to spend a day cruising through the Finnish archipelago or exploring one of Finland’s many national parks as part of the programme.
The new Edinburgh service joins London Heathrow, Manchester and Dublin as Finnair gateways in the UK and Ireland.