Virgin Atlantic has unveiled plans to operate daily flights between Scotland and Heathrow from next year.
Sir Richard Branson’s airline said the takeover of bmi by British Airways’s parent company had freed up more landing slots, clearing the way for extra flights to Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
The new routes, due to start at the end of March, will put Virgin in direct competition with BA on Scottish shuttle services and complement the airline’s new Heathrow to Manchester route.
Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway said: "We have fought hard for the right to fly short haul and take a strong challenge to BA within these shores.
"For 28 years both airlines have battled for customers all over the world and it has meant that British consumers have ultimately had some of the world's best flying and lowest fares."
Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said: "We're focused on providing Scotland with choice both in terms of routes and carriers whilst extending its reach across the world.
"This new regular service does exactly that, giving choice to Heathrow and opening up a new set of onward destinations for our passengers."
Transport Minister Keith Brown said it was a welcome announcement for both passengers and the air industry.
Mr Brown said: "We look forward to a long and productive relationship with Virgin Atlantic and the exciting connections they can offer with all the benefits that will bring for passengers, Scotland's aviation industry and the wider Scottish economy.
"The detail will be worked out over the next couple of weeks but we are pleased that the European Commission has taken note of the need for both Edinburgh and Aberdeen to be served and that Virgin Atlantic will now be able to operate from two of Scotland's most important cities."
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