By Kevin Scott and Louise Scott
Transatlantic flights have taken off from Scotland for the first time since early last year, although new testing requirements are already resulting in cancellations.
The new Edinburgh service is the first time Virgin Atlantic has flown international flights from the Scottish capital in its 37-year history.
Airport bosses are calling for a long term strategy for the industry but Scottish Government ministers have refused to rule out further restrictions on travel.
Gordon Dewar, the chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “Until we get rid of all the restrictions and all the testing and all the uncertainty, and to be fair, some of the, you know, the deliberate uncertainty talked about by ministers and the First Minister then people are not going to travel in the numbers we want and this is going to put some of that development and that recovery at risk.”
People arriving in Scotland from abroad now need to take a pre-departure Covid test to help stem the spread of the Omicron variant.
International travellers will have to provide proof of a negative PCR or lateral flow test taken two days before travelling, in addition to a negative PCR test on or before day two after arrival, under measures agreed on a four nations basis.
But the new rules have not deterred sunseekers from trying out the new service.
One traveller told STV News: “After two years of being stuck in Edinburgh, I think just going somewhere that I’ve never been before is just an adventure that we all need, or that I need anyway.”
Another traveller said: “We all need a bit of a break now. And you know, we’ve all been working and, you know, especially in the winter weather in Britain, it’s nice to be able to get away, get some sun.
The airline is deploying a three-class Airbus A330 on Scotland’s only direct flight to the Caribbean. The twice-weekly service will operate on Sundays and Wednesdays.