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PEOPLE Jonathan Rayner Three questions for... 1 ...Jonathan Rayner, aviation director, Edinburgh Airport


What are the opportunities and issues facing Edinburgh Airport?


We’ve had a lot of growth over the past few years with our low-cost partners, but have balanced it with the legacy traffic as it is important to have a good mix between the two. While we recently lost Etihad as an airline, last year Emirates launched a daily service, and that gives us a really good foothold in an important hub. Similarly, Hainan Airlines’ launch of a new four-times-weekly service to Beijing has opened up further opportunities in China and Asia. Equally importantly, we have the


market to serve it. On the outbound front, we have five million people living in Scotland, while its capital, Edinburgh, is a centre for a variety of trades, including finance and oil. But our market is way bigger than five million as there are people all over the world that want to come and visit both Edinburgh and Scotland. There’s a strong inbound market to the popular city and the region with our culture, golf and whisky being some of the attractions. However, because we’ve been


growing so quickly, there have been some growing pains. The airspace change programme in summer 2020 will give us more capacity. We’ve grown our security and airside areas too, but more work may be needed on the former when new regulations kick in. Plus the Scottish government promised airports and air carriers they would halve and eventually abolish Air Passenger Duty, which they have failed to do. That’s now having a direct impact and it’s something we need to see action on.


“There’s a strong inbound market to the popular city and the region with our culture, golf and whisky being some of the attractions”


106 ISSUE 2 ROUTES NEWS 2019 routesonline.com 2


What are your key targets for 2019?


Key target areas to the east are China, India and Japan, as we know that people from those markets want to visit both Edinburgh and Scotland. We have the Beijing connection now and hopefully it will help drive more. We have strong US connections with


flights to JFK, Newark, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, while Boston will launch this year. As far as outbound long-haul leisure is concerned, it would be great to add more Florida services and secure some Dominican Republic services. Dubai is well served by Emirates, which uses a Boeing 777, so the capacity is great and it works for both point-to-point and hub operations. Qatar Airways has just gone to 10 flights a week and I would love to see them go double daily. In Europe, we have seen good


growth on point-to-point routes, while in eastern Europe, there are some gaps. Some eastern European carriers have been growing robustly and we would like to see them add Edinburgh in the coming years. We’ve also added a lot of


connections to European hubs in the more traditional areas and we have easyJet, Jet2.com and Ryanair onboard, but there are always more points we can serve, particularly in central Europe.


3


Best and worst parts of the job?


The people! We’ve


invested a lot in our own team and we have some great new people working for us; I am always impressed by their numeracy and digital savvy. What they can do with a spreadsheet is amazing and their modelling capabilities are very strong too. Equally importantly, with our customer base increasingly made up of millennials, we can get some great insights into that market and how to get the best out of it. Similarly, coming to Routes events means we get to see our airport and airline partners regularly. While we once did purely business with them, we are now lucky to count many of them as our friends too. It is a social industry so we work


hard and play hard, while visiting places such as Cebu [for Routes Asia 2019] is great. The travel can also be one of the worst parts, as it can be quite hard on your home life. Every time I go away, I leave behind my girlfriend and my dog, and I’m sometimes not sure who misses me more!


World Routes hosts: See the full list of 2019 World Routes hosts and venues online at


routesonline.com/events


Edinburgh Castle is a major draw for visitors to the city


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