EasyJet to launch shortest mainland UK link from Birmingham to Edinburgh

The new link will be in competition with Virgin Trains and CrossCountry rail services, as well as Flybe planes

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 18 September 2019 21:03

As the clamour grows for terrestrial transport to replace air travel, Britain’s biggest budget airline has announced a new route from Birmingham to Edinburgh.

At just 250 miles, it will be easyJet’s shortest mainland Britain domestic link. Currently the shortest is Bristol to Newcastle at 256 miles.

The airline’s Airbus jet will connect the West Midlands with the Scottish capital in around 70 minutes from gate to gate.

From 29 March 2020 it will operate twice a day each way during the week, with a reduced frequency at weekends. It aims to fly around 500 passengers per day.

At present Flybe flies between Edinburgh and Birmingham up to eight times a day each way, taking 75 minutes using propeller aircraft.

A spokesperson for the airline said: “Flybe is proud of its established position as the largest scheduled airline by the number of air traffic movements at Birmingham airport and also of the presence we have at our long-established Edinburgh base.

“We continue to offer customers a multi-frequency, conveniently timed schedule throughout the day on this route with a choice of up to 42 flights every week.”

Birmingham airport’s chief executive, Nick Barton, said: “It is great news that easyJet is announcing a fourth route from Birmingham airport just a couple of weeks after announcing its third route to Glasgow.

“This new route complements the existing Geneva and Belfast destinations.

“It is important that our passengers have a wide selection of destinations to choose from, as well as a frequency of flights to suit their needs.”

The airline has already announced a Birmingham-Glasgow flight, also in competition with Flybe.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK country manager, said: “It is the second route to Scotland in as many weeks and underlines our commitment to providing domestic services and expanding our offering for customers from the Midlands.”

The director of Flight Free UK, climate change campaigner Anna Hughes, said: “At a time of climate emergency we should be drastically reducing our emissions, which means flying far, far less.

“By announcing yet more domestic routes, airlines are making it very difficult for consumers to make the sustainable choice.

“We cannot keep ignoring the long-term damage of aviation for short-term profit and ease.”

The Edinburgh route also competes with Virgin Trains, which has a service from both Birmingham New Street and the city’s airport to Edinburgh Waverley. The fastest journey time is four hours, 13 minutes.

The train operator has seen traffic grow steadily since it introduced regular trains on the route.

A slower but arguably more scenic option is on CrossCountry Train via York, Durham and Newcastle.

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