Edinburgh Airport will welcome the return of a direct service to Beijing this summer as Hainan Airlines touches down in Scotland again.

The airline will operate flights twice-weekly between Scotland’s busiest airport and the Chinese capital from June 26 until October 8.

This will be the only direct flight connecting Scotland and China when it begins operating next month.

When Hainan last operated to Edinburgh it was a triangular service including Dublin and the airline had fifth-freedom rights between Edinburgh and Dublin. Now the flight will be non-stop from Beijing to both Edinburgh and Dublin but with reduced frequency.

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “The return of direct flights to Beijing is fantastic news as we gear up for a hugely exciting summer, and is further evidence of the strong recovery we’re seeing here at Edinburgh.

“This service will be the only one operating between Scotland and China when it is introduced and is a real show of faith in the market by Hainan Airlines. This important connectivity will provide a boost to Scotland’s universities and tourism industry, open up a wealth of new business opportunities, and enable better access to other parts of the world.

“We’re sure it will be highly valued whether it be by students travelling between the two countries to study, families reconnecting, or tourists travelling to visit new places.”

Transport Minister Kevin Stewart said: “I welcome the announcement of this direct service between Edinburgh Airport and Beijing, which is an important development for both Edinburgh and Scotland’s international connectivity.

“This direct connectivity is great news for people and businesses in both Scotland and China, building strong links for business and exports, as well as making it easier for visitors and students to come and experience Scotland.”

Flights will depart Beijing’s Capital Airport each Monday and Friday at 0240, arriving in Edinburgh at 0630.

The return services will depart the Scottish capital at 1200, arriving at Beijing’s Capital Airport the following morning at 0510.

Hainan Airlines will operate its Airbus A330-300 aircraft on the route, seating 32 passengers across a 1-2-1 configuration in business class and 260 passengers across a 2-4-2 configuration in economy class.