From The Floor: Team Scotland

Routes hears from Routes World 2022 attendee VisitScotland about the latest successes for Team Scotland and the ongoing route development priorities for the country.

Denise Hill, head of engagement at VisitScotland, speaks to Routes.

What are the major recent successes at your organisation?

In the years preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, Scotland was better connected than ever before. Significant advances in improving international connectivity included securing numerous new routes to key markets and hubs in North America, the Middle East and Europe. Now as we have emerged from the shutdowns of the pandemic, we have been delighted to see those connections to our key tourism and export markets returning and are ambitious to see Scotland’s connectivity grow to new and additional target markets. Working with our airport partners, we have already seen WestJet launch new and popular services between Toronto (YYZ) and both Edinburgh (EDI) and Glasgow (GLA), and most recently Delta Air Lines has announced that they will launch a new service between Atlanta (ATL) and Edinburgh, giving Scotland another vital connection to the US.

What are your main strategic ambitions in the short-, medium- and long-term?

The Scottish Government recognises the critical importance of Scotland’s international connectivity and post COVID is working with Scotland’s airports to help restore and grow direct international connectivity. It’s not just a matter of new services, but also building upon existing services key to Scotland’s economic development. Europe is a key international market for Scotland, with Germany, France and Netherlands featuring high in our strategic ambitions. While Scotland already has extensive connections to North America, there remain unserved destinations, which are a focus of future ambitions. We also want to build on our important Middle East routes and see these achieve pre-pandemic levels and beyond. Longer term, we continue to explore opportunities in destinations such as India and Singapore, and of course re-establishing a direct link to China. While we work with Scotland’s airports to help restore lost connectivity, and grow international connectivity, our aim is to do this without returning to previous levels of emissions. 

What is your main goal in attending Routes World 2022?

The Scottish Government operates a ‘Team Scotland’ approach to route development, providing a single point of contact for aviation partners seeking public sector insight and support. The Scottish Government’s role is of course complementary to that of the airports who have the primary responsibility for securing new routes and working with airlines to ensure sustainable network growth. Our Team Scotland partnership involves the government’s transport, tourism and enterprise agencies. Working as a team, our aim is to help restore lost connectivity, and grow the international connectivity, that is essential for inbound tourism, business connectivity and the economy as a whole. We aim to build further on our network of global hub and direct air services, with Scottish airports offering very attractive opportunities. Routes World is an important part of our engagement with our fellow aviation professionals, and we can’t wait to meet at the event to discuss the exciting opportunities ahead.