There are precious few direct international routes from Edinburgh so when a service is launched it’s always a newsworthy event. In this case it’s tomorrow’s re-instatement of a three times direct link from the Scottish capital to Hamburg. This route was pioneered by German budget airline Hapag Lloyd Express which operated it for a short time using a 150-seater B737 before suspending service a few months ago.
It’s now been taken over by BA’s low-cost subsidiary BA Connect who will operate it three times a week using a smaller 110-seater one-class BAe146. Says a spokesperson for BA Connect, “The Scottish executive is very keen to develop direct flights to mainland Europe and beyond. We think Hamburg represents a potential gap in the market.”
Flights start on June 2 leaving Edinburgh on Wednesdays and Friday at 1050 and arriving in Hamburg at 1340. The inbound service leaves Hamburg at 14.20 to reach Edinburgh at 1515. On Sundays, BA Connect departs Edinburgh at 1710 arriving in Hamburg at 2000 and returning at 2035 to land back in the UK at 2130.
Return fares start at £87 although at busy times you could pay as much as £367. On days when there is no direct flight, passengers have an alternative with BA mainline via Heathrow. But BA’s website (ba.com) doesn’t automatically offer this option so you have to request it via the multiple flight search. Fares via Heathrow may also be more expensive.
BA Connect is aiming this service at both business and leisure travellers at both ends of the route. It’s timed for the start of the FIFA World Cup and Scottish summer tourism including the famous Edinburgh Festival.
Like Edinburgh, Hamburg has a wide catchment area covering cities like Bremen and Hanover in Northern Germany while even Berlin is within striking distance by fast train. Let’s hope BA Connect is more successful on this route than was Hapag Lloyd Express.
Report by Alex McWhirter