American Airlines is set to launch a daily flight between Edinburgh and New York this summer. The service to New York’s JFK Airport will run annually from May to September. The new route is expected to be very popular with both tourists and business travellers. Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “We’re confident that this new service will be a hit with Scottish passengers, both for visitors to the Big Apple and those travelling to onward destinations across America.”
Scandinavian Airlines has also announced a new service between Edinburgh and Copenhagen alongside the return of services to Oslo and Stockholm from the end of March. The new routes come as passenger numbers at Edinburgh Airport soared last year. The airport saw 10.2 million people pass through its terminal (a 4% increase on 2013) while its long-haul traffic increased by 89.6% on 2013, credited to the introduction of new flights to Chicago, Philadelphia and Doha.
The huge increase in long-haul traffic has led to further investment in the airport. Work has recently begun on a new £50 million arrivals area, including a new baggage hall, immigration area, air bridges and aircraft stands. The development, announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in January, will see long-haul capacity triple in the coming years.
Edinburgh tops Telegraph Travel Awards
Edinburgh has been voted as Britain’s best city in the Telegraph Travel Awards 2014 for the second year in a row. Scotland’s capital city normally vies with London for first place, however in the latest awards London was announced as joint runner-up with York. So why did Edinburgh claim the top spot? The Telegraph said: "From the history-soaked medieval tenements, vennels and wynds of the Old Town to the sweeping elegance of the Georgian New Town, Edinburgh deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful and compelling cities in the world."
A triumphant Homecoming
The Year of Homecoming has been hailed a major success as VisitScotland has revealed that a record-breaking two million people attended Homecoming events during 2014. There were 1,049 events held across Scotland last year (more than double the initial target of 400), including the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Bannockburn Live, which marked the 700th anniversary of the battle. The programme also featured many new events such as the European Festival of Brass, McLaren 2014 and Pipefest.
Chairman of VisitScotland, Mike Cantlay said: “There really was no place like home for the people of Scotland during 2014. We welcomed the world in their millions and boy did we have fun doing it. We opened our arms and laughed and cheered with our guests. We gave them directions, provided sunscreen and sometimes the odd umbrella. We didn’t just show them a good time – we joined in! Scotland enjoyed a breathtaking programme of more than 1,000 events in this incredible Homecoming year, touching every single corner of the country. I am unaware of any other country in the world our size which has delivered events on such a scale and with such prowess.”
Edinburgh's research excellence
The University of Edinburgh has proved its excellence once again as it comes fourth in the UK and top in Scotland for the range and quality of its research in a UK-wide league table. Based on the results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), the analysis, undertaken by Research Fortnight, assessed the quality of research at 154 universities across the UK and scored the work of more than 52,000 academics. Edinburgh has moved up one place since the previous table was published in 2008. Glasgow, St Andrews, Strathclyde, Aberdeen, Dundee, Heriot-Watt and Stirling also made the top 50, as the findings revealed that more than 85% of university research in Scotland was deemed to have a significant impact on wider society – higher than the UK average.
Luxury accomodation in the heart of the city
Edinburgh will welcome a new 110-room midscale hotel from French hotel operator Accor and its franchise partner Edinburgh City Hotels. Accor owns the Mercure, Novotel and Ibis hotel chains and plans to add another Mercure Hotel to its growing portfolio in the city early this year. With close proximity to Haymarket Station, the hotel will open in Gardner's Crescent in the city centre, just minutes walk from the EICC.
Thomas Dubaere, managing director of Accor UK & Ireland, said: “Scotland is an important region for us, with its enviable tourism industry and flourishing business ecosystem, so we continue to seek new opportunities to grow and participate in the local economy.”
New research base tackling climate change
Work is to begin on a state-of-the-art, £17 million climate change research centre at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. The Lyell Centre for Earth and Marine Science and Technology is a joint venture between the University and the British Geological Survey. The new Centre is set to bring together geologists, marine scientists and climate change and petroleum experts to work on interdisciplinary projects.
Professor Murray Roberts, Centre Coordinator, said: “Over the next year Heriot-Watt is embarking on an ambitious £8.5m recruitment drive to appoint new research stars to move into the Lyell Centre and drive it forward. The Lyell Centre is working at the interfaces of applied geoscience, ecology and technology – and although it might seem a bit counterintuitive to have climate change scientists and petroleum scientists eating together in the same canteen, we need this interdisciplinary approach to tackle the grand challenges of energy supply and sustainable development in a changing world.”