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The Independent Travel

Ten years after easyJet started the low-cost revolution between Scotland and London, competition on the key routes serving Edinburgh and Glasgow is about to get even more intense.

Ten years after easyJet started the low-cost revolution between Scotland and London, competition on the key routes serving Edinburgh and Glasgow is about to get even more intense.

In 1995, you could fly only from Heathrow or Stansted to Scotland's largest cities, on a choice of three airlines. Now there are more airlines and more than twice as many flights, with links also to Gatwick, Luton and London City. Competition is set to increase still further: the leading Scottish airline FlyGlobespan is to launch flights from both Edinburgh and Glasgow to Stansted. There will be two flights a day in each direction from Monday to Friday, plus services on Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings.

The links were originally operated by Air UK, but then replaced by Go, which was later bought by easyJet - with whom the new flights compete directly. Flights from Edinburgh start on 1 June, and from Glasgow on the following day.

Test bookings made to both destinations from Stansted departing on the morning of Friday 1 July, returning on the evening of Sunday 3 July, reveal return fares of £51 to Edinburgh on Globespan, compared with easyJet's fares of £110 to Edinburgh and £85 to Glasgow.

Anyone travelling with substantial luggage may still opt for easyJet, which has no weight limit on cabin baggage and an additional weight limit for 20kg for checked bags. FlyGlobespan has the same overall limit for checked and cabin baggage combined.

FlyGlobespan offers a "flexible fare", which will suit travellers who think it is likely that they will want to change dates of flights - or who typically book very close to departure. The fare is £118 return, which is likely to be much less than short-notice bookings between London and Scotland.

A rational strategy for such travellers is to book a trip for some random time in the future, then change dates by noon the day before the date of travel; these are allowed 45 days either side of the original booking. You can even change names free of charge, making the offer ideal for businesses.

Competition to and from London City increases from next Monday, 9 May, when ScotAirways steps up its services between the Docklands airport and Edinburgh with a new daily jet service in each direction.

The airline currently operates only propellor aircraft on the route between the English and Scottish capitals, in competition with British Airways jets.

Fares on the route are typically around £111 return.

British Airways: 0870 850 9850, www.ba.com

easyJet: 0905 821 0905, www.easyJet.com

Globespan: 0870 556 1522, www.flyglobespan.com

ScotAirways: 0870 6060707, www.scotairways.com

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