Edinburgh Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport sign groundbreaking partnership

Published: 03 July 2017

Edinburgh Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport last month signed a groundbreaking partnership agreement. Edinburgh Airport’s Director of Communications Gordon Robertson explains more…

Key facts on each airport?

Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s largest.  In 2016, it carried 12.3m passengers and is on track to surpass that record-breaking year in 2017.  Since being sold to infrastructure fund Global Infrastructure Partners in 2012, it has grown significantly, adding long haul and short haul routes, providing passengers with real choice. An economic study in 2016 showed that the airport is worth £1bn GVA per year to the Scottish economy, supporting some 23,000 jobs. It is investing to cope with its growth and is in the midst of a £150m building plan. 

We’ve been working very hard at securing a direct route from Edinburgh to China. Strengthening our airport’s links with that country’s capital airport can only assist in that.

Gordon Robertson, director of communications, Edinburgh Airport

 

Beijing Capital International Airport is the main international airport serving Beijing. It is the main hub for Air China, the flag carrier of the People's Republic of China, which flies to around 120 destinations (excluding cargo) from Beijing. China Eastern Airlines, Hainan Airlines and China Southern Airlines also use the airport as their hub. 

The airport has rapidly ascended in rankings of the world's busiest airports in the past decade. It had become the busiest airport in Asia in terms of passenger traffic and total traffic movements by 2009. It has been the world's second busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic since 2010 and saw over 94m passengers use it in 2016. The airport registered 557,167 aircraft movements (take-offs and landings), ranking 6th in the world in 2012. 

Since being sold to infrastructure fund Global Infrastructure Partners in 2012, Edinburgh Airport has grown significantly, adding long haul and short haul routes.

How did this come about?

Gordon Dewar (Edinburgh Airport Chief Executive) has been making many visits to China to better understand the Chinese markets and press airlines on the benefits to a direct Edinburgh service. 

Last year, Beijing Airport invited him to the Beijing Global Friend Airports CEO Forum and the seeds of the MoU were sown.

In the correspondence following, the structure of the agreement took shape and it was clear that the two airports, despite their size differences, had similar ambition and things to share.  Gordon then invited President and Chief Executive ZhiLiang Han and his team over to Edinburgh to sign the agreement and learn more about Edinburgh and Scotland. 

What's the rationale?

We’ve been working very hard at securing a direct route from Edinburgh to China.  Strengthening our airport’s links with that country’s capital airport can only assist in that.

We have agreed to collaborate to develop a shared understanding of markets and shared operational and commercial opportunities.  We’ll both benefit from a service between us.

We’re also looking at areas where information and skills can be exchanged to achieve best practice, collaboration and cross-fertilisation of ideas and experience. Edinburgh is far smaller – but we’ve grown quickly and we have experience to share.  Clearly we can also learn a lot from one of the world’s biggest airports. So on a commercial and operational level, the rationale is sound. 

Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s largest carrying 12.3 million passengers in 2016.

What do you hope to achieve?

Put simply – a direct connection and a better airport.  The opportunities presented are phenomenal and we’re really excited to be working with the Beijing team on what is the beginning of a long relationship.

 

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you and your business establish, relocate or expand within the city region, or would simply like more information about what Edinburgh has to offer, get in touch today.

E: invest@edinburgh.gov.uk

Share

Get in touch

Investor Support Team

City of Edinburgh Council

E: invest@edinburgh.gov.uk

Latest tweets

follow us @InvestEdinburgh