Atlantic Airways Selects Edinburgh as Gateway to Scotland

Faroese flag carrier Atlantic Airways will launch a new twice weekly scheduled service from Vágar to Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh from next spring as part of a revised business strategy to focus on more frequent links to the islands’ closest neighbours.

The new route will commence on March 30, 2015 and will be operated by a 144-seat Airbus A319. The schedule of flights on Friday mornings and Monday evenings has been devised to cater for long weekend leisure demand in each direction.

Atlantic Airways focuses primarily on providing the Faroe Islands with important air services to neighbouring countries, including Denmark, the UK, Iceland, and Norway but it is also involved in increasingly important activity in other markets including charter contracts throughout northern and central Europe.

Its new strategy has already committed it to increasing its services from the Atlantic archipelago to neighbours Iceland and Norway, alongside its core routes to Denmark and the addition of a route to Scotland marks the final piece of the jigsaw.

"Atlantic Airways looks forward to offering its customers a better service to our neighbours in the North Atlantic. Our NORTH strategy will support the potential growth for the commercial and industrial sector in the Faroe Islands. But this improved route network will also benefit private travellers and tourists who want to visit the islands,” said Jørgen Holme, chief executive officer, Atlantic Airways.

The Faroe Islands’ carrier has experience of the Scotland market having previously offered flights to Aberdeen and Sumburgh in the Shetland Islands. It also served Edinburgh for a short summer season between May 2005 and September 2005 with a weekly flight using a BAe 146-200. According to Holme, Edinburgh was selected ahead of alternatives including Aberdeen to support the final stage of its NORTH strategy.

“Among other things, we were persuaded by the opportunities for onward connections at Edinburgh, particularly to London, and by the airport’s ability to service a very much larger catchment area,” he said.

Alongside the flights to Scotland, Atlantic Airways has also offered regular schedules into London, a route that previously made an operational stop in Scotland. This link was originally operated to Stansted Airport but was switched to Gatwick Airport in summer 2012, before reverting back to Stansted in winter 2013/2014 and summer 2014. These flights ended in August 2014.

The 18 Faroe Islands make up one of Europe’s most unusual and dramatic destinations, with breath-taking scenery, great walking, and fantastic birdlife. “We are close to the UK at a time when people are looking for new and exciting experiences that are perhaps closer to home. We hope many more people from the UK will visit our beautiful islands in 2015 and learn what makes ours a very special destination,” said Holme.

In our analysis, below, we look at passenger demand between the Faroe Islands and the UK based on official data from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). When Atlantic Airways previously served the Vágar – Edinburgh route in 2005 just under 1,000 passengers travelled on the route.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…