Highlands & Islands

British Airways reinstates Inverness to Heathrow route

First of new BA flights lands at Inverness Airport
Image caption The first of the new flights at Inverness Airport

The first British Airways scheduled flights between Heathrow Airport and Inverness for nearly 20 years have begun operating.

BA ended its services between the two airports in 1997.

The new year-round service will see an inbound flight leaving Heathrow just before 10:00 and an afternoon flight from Inverness.

The first Airbus A319 jet operating on the route has touched down at the Highlands airport.

Image copyright HIAL
Image caption Inverness has been reconnected with Heathrow

A survey of more than 290 businesses in the Highlands and Islands in 2013 suggested Heathrow remained a key destination.

Business people in the region told the survey that they travelled to airports in Aberdeen, Glasgow or Edinburgh so they could fly to Heathrow for meetings in London and the south east of England.

Inverness Airport did have a link with London City Airport, but Flybe suspended the service in February last year due to lack of demand.

Easyjet provides an alternative link to London via its services between Gatwick and Luton to the Highland capital.

Image caption The reinstatement of the route was marked with this cake at Inverness Airport

A spokesman for Heathrow Airport said it was an important development for Heathrow and Inverness.

He added: "We're delighted that Inverness will now get all of the benefits that connecting to the UK's only hub provides.

"When the city lost its hub connection, the north of Scotland saw its global connectivity severely reduced and the region has been fighting to re-establish it ever since.

"Heathrow is one of only six airports in the world with over 50 long-haul destinations - reconnecting to Heathrow will give a huge boost to Inverness and the north of Scotland, opening up lucrative trade routes and driving the inbound tourism and foreign investment that will create local jobs."