Etihad Airways will this week begin connecting the Middle East to the Scottish capital with the launch of daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Edinburgh. Edinburgh is Etihad Airways’ first Scottish destination, and its third point in the UK, alongside a triple-daily operation to London Heathrow and double-daily flights to Manchester.The new service is operated with a two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft, offering a total of 22 seats in Business Class and 240 seats in Economy. It will provide connections through the Abu Dhabi hub to the world’s most attractive holiday destinations and trade centres for the Scottish economy in the Middle East, Indian sub-continent, Asia and Australia.Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer for Etihad Airways, said, “Scotland is the natural next step on our growth trajectory in the UK, with strong tourism and business traffic in both directions. We have been impressed by the welcome we have received from Edinburgh Airport and from the Scottish tourism industry. Many local stakeholders have played a part in attracting us to the city and welcoming us here, and we’re confident this service will be a great success. From a business and trade perspective, the UAE is already a primary trade partner for Scotland in the Middle East region. According to figures released at the end of 2014 by the UK’s Office for National Statistics, bilateral trade between the UAE and UK reached more than £12.36 billion in 2013.For leisure customers, Edinburgh is a significant tourist draw. The city is the UK’s largest tourist market outside London, with more than a million arrivals from overseas each year. Significantly, Edinburgh is the second most popular British city for Australians, 8 per cent of whom have Scottish ancestry. Etihad Airways currently connects directly to Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne and onward to around 40 further destinations across Australia, through the partnership with Virgin Australia.