Virgin Atlantic has announced its first international services from Edinburgh in its 37-year history.

The carrier will launch Scotland’s only direct route to the Caribbean on December 5, with twice-weekly flights operated by an A330 aircraft from Edinburgh to Barbados. Flights will go on sale from August 18 and fares will start from £419.

The carrier also stated that this will present “new opportunities for companies looking to export and import famous Scottish goods, such as whisky and smoked salmon, between Scotland and the Caribbean”

Additionally, the airline will launch twice-weekly flights from Edinburgh to Orlando, Florida, from April 2022.

The new Edinburgh-Barbados route is another sign of the airline’s expansion of its Caribbean portfolio. October 13 will see Europe’s first direct service to St Vincent and the Grenadines.

From November 6, Virgin will operate a three-times-weekly service from its Manchester hub to Montego Bay in Jamaica on an A330-300 aircraft. This will be followed by Virgin’s return to St Lucia on December 18, with a three-times-weekly service on the airline’s A330-300 aircraft.

Seats for both these routes go on sale from August 18 with fares starting from £428 to Jamaica and £462 to St Lucia.

Meanwhile, the airline will increase its services to Barbados from October 31, with a five-times weekly service from Manchester (previously three times) and 11 times weekly from Heathrow (previously daily). Services from Heathrow to Jamaica will also increase from three flights per week to daily.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented,

“The Caribbean is such an important destination for us and for our customers and we couldn’t be more excited to announce our new routes, as we continue to grow our ever-expanding portfolio.

“Commencing international flights from Edinburgh marks an exciting new chapter and I know our teams can’t wait to show Edinburgh the famous Virgin Atlantic spirit and flair.”

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, added;

“A premier city like Edinburgh deserves premier airlines and we are extremely excited to welcome our newest partner Virgin Atlantic to Scotland’s capital city.

“To be able to deliver flights to Barbados, Scotland’s only direct route to the Caribbean, and Orlando is a fantastic boost to us as we prepare for the post-Covid recovery, and it is a huge show of confidence in Edinburgh Airport’s ability to deliver for passengers across the country.”

Virgin also recently announced that it will fly twice-weekly from Heathrow to the Bahamas from November 20 on a B787-9 aircraft.

The airline also announced that is expanding its portfolio in Hong Kong and India. For the remainder of August, the airline’s Mumbai route will operate on an A350, increasing its capacity by 30 per cent. Capacity to Hong Kong will rise by 80 per cent from September, with four adiditioanl wekly flights and an A350 operating the route.