LONDON, England – Businesses and people across the Highlands are celebrating the return of the link between Inverness and Heathrow, the UK’s global gateway.
This new daily service operated by British Airways reconnects the capital of the Highlands to Heathrow for the first time in almost a decade, opening up lucrative trade routes and 92 new onward long-haul destinations which will enable businesses and leisure passengers to more easily connect to markets around the world.
New economic analysis released today reveals that the Inverness route will have a significant positive impact on the Inverness economy with benefits for regional industries such as life sciences, food and drink and tourism.
With over 100,000 seats will be available on the route annually, the research found that for inbound tourism alone, the link will could generate up to £8m a year in additional growth.
Whisky and Salmon are the biggest contributors to the value of Scotland’s international exports of food and drink and are key sectors in the area around Inverness and the Highlands. With over two-third of these companies in the region actively exporting, the route will make it more efficient and cost-effective for them to sell their products in new markets around the world.
The new route represents an exciting new phase for the north west of Scotland and Heathrow as the airport awaits Government approval for its expansion plans. An expanded Heathrow would have the extra capacity to ensure that airlines were not forced to prioritise more lucrative long-haul services at the expense of domestic connections like Inverness. Expansion would also create up to 16,000 new skilled jobs and deliver £14 billion in economic growth across the Highlands and Scotland. With 40 new long-haul trading links, an expanded hub at Heathrow would also make it even cheaper for Highland exports to get to new fast growing markets of the world and for high-value tourists to get to the capital of the Highlands.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:
“The Inverness-Heathrow route offers so much potential for the businesses and people of the north west of Scotland who for too long have been let down by the indecision on airport expansion. Today is a momentous day – Inverness joins Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle with a route into Heathrow and access to markets from Manila to Mexico City, from Chicago to Chengdu, from Hanoi to Houston. It means more growth and a more secure economic future for the Highlands and I’m delighted that we’re able to be a part of that future success.”
Stewart Nicol, Chief Executive, Inverness Chamber of Commerce said:
“This is a very significant development for the Highland business community in terms of increasing the connectivity between Inverness, London and the South-East of the UK. This will make it much easier for Highland businesses to connect to markets across the world. It is also a significant endorsement of all that HIAL have done to secure the UK’s leading airline, and one of the world’s most iconic commercial airline brands, back to the city of Inverness. In addition to making it easier for Highland businesses to access global destinations from Heathrow, this route makes it much easier for tourists from across the world to get to Inverness.”
David McMillan, Managing Director, LifeScan Scotland Ltd said:
“The new flight from BA is fantastic news for the region allowing small, medium and large businesses across the Highlands a direct link with Heathrow and beyond. Having this Inverness to Heathrow route is an important boost for connectivity. Specifically for LifeScan Scotland this offers our employees significant flexibility in their travel plans. Reviewing 2015, over 1,200 flights were taken by LifeScan Scotland employees travelling through London airports.”
Craig Anderson, Managing Director, The Scottish Salmon Company said:
“Aquaculture is an extremely important industry in the Highlands & Islands, which has created jobs in remote and rural locations, often classed as economically fragile. At The Scottish Salmon Company we produce 20% of Scotland’s salmon output and have over 430 employees working across the Highlands & Islands.
We have over 40 salmon farms in the area and are considered to be the largest private employer in the Western Isles. The jobs we create enable people to stay in their communities and continue with local traditions such as crofting. Salmon farming provides year round, full time jobs offering economic stability and a bright future, as the industry continue to flourish in order to meet domestic and international demand for our quality, Scottish salmon.”
Sarah Medcraf, Chief Executive Officer, Moray Chamber of Commerce said:
“We welcome the launch of this new service which will greatly enhance the options of travel, particularly for business travel connections. The continued investment of transport links in the Highlands, Islands & Moray will encourage economic development to show that this is the place to live, work and play.”