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Seven destinations Aberdeen Airport could (and should) fly to

There would be no more early morning journeys to Edinburgh or Glasgow - or connecting flights - if these became a reality.

Plane flying out of Aberdeen International Airport.
Where do you think Aberdeen International Airport should fly to. Image: Paul Glendell/DC Thomson.

For the size of Aberdeen, the city’s airport has lots of good destinations to fly to in the UK and Europe.

But it could be even better.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), 1.9 million passengers passed through Aberdeen International Airport last year, down from a record of 3.7 million in 2014.

However, the airport still flies to over 30 destinations nationally and internationally, including to the likes of London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol and Stavanger.

Here’s our top seven list of destinations that could prove successful.


Eiffel Tower, Paris.
Aberdonians cannot fly directly to see the Eiffel Tower. Image: Michel Euler/AP/Shutterstock.

One of the most visited cities in the world, the French capital is home to the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Elysees, however, it is not served by a flight from Aberdeen.

The Charles de Gaulle route was one of the most popular destinations from the airport before it was scrapped during the Covid-19 pandemic. Last year, Air France – who operated the flight – said they had “no immediate plans” to reinstate it.

A potential option would be for a new flight from Aberdeen to Paris’ second airport Orly. Eastern Airways operates a route between East Midlands, Cardiff and Southampton – the latter two are smaller than Aberdeen Airport – to Paris.


Volcano Bay in Orlando.
Top tourist spot Volcano Bay is in Orlando. Image: Richard Jones.

Who wouldn’t want to fly direct from Aberdeen to visit Mickey and Minnie Mouse? Many families from the north-east travel to Orlando – home to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios – to immerse themselves in the magic of Florida.

However, they usually have to travel from Edinburgh and Glasgow, or further, to get there. TUI fly seasonally to Orlando’s second airport – Melbourne – from some UK airports and in the past a direct flight went from Cardiff with the now defunct Monarch.


Aerial view of Blarney Castle near Cork.
The world famous Blarney Castle is located near Cork. Image: Failte Ireland.

The Republic of Ireland’s second city and the third biggest on the island, Cork is known for its historic English Market and independent spirit.

Last year, Aer Lingus’ Dublin route was Aberdeen Airport’s seventh busiest outside the UK and is a popular weekend destination. Loganair’s Belfast City flight from the Dyce airport is also successful and Cork has the potential to be the same.

As well as the city, people could explore the world famous Blarney Castle or Cobh, the Titanic’s last stop on its fateful journey.


Frankfurt Christmas market.
Frankfurt is a great destination to see traditional Christmas markets. Image: Shutterstock.

A direct flight between Aberdeen and Frankfurt, operated by German flag carrier Lufthansa, was in place from 2011 to 2018. However this was scrapped due to not being “commercially viable” for the airline.

Since its demise, there has been no direct route to Germany. With Charles de Gaulle no longer an option either, it means Heathrow and Schiphol are the only options for those looking to connect flights across the globe.

Also, Frankfurt am Main is a tourist and business destination in its own right, being home to the European Central Bank. Germany’s fifth largest city and the country’s sole “alpha world city” is also well-known for its Christmas market.


Paphos in Cyprus.
Paphos has sea, beaches and culture. Image: Shutterstock.

Aberdeen has no direct flight to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, despite its popularity as an all-year round holiday destination.

Paphos, along with Limassol, is one of two airports located in the area controlled by the Republic of Cyprus. Paphos was the 2017 European Capital of Culture and is a Unesco World Heritage Site due to its ancient architecture, mosaics and ancient religious importance.

Also, if you are looking to party the night away and fancy a more lively holiday, the world famous Ayia Napa is less than a two-hour drive from the airport.


Camara de Lobos in Madeira.
Camara de Lobos is located on the outskirts of Madeira’s capital Funchal.

The quaint Portuguese island, which lies off the North African coast, is most famous for being the home of Cristiano Ronaldo. But apart from this, Madeira is popular with cruise liners and can see temperatures of 18C to 20C during the winter.

Its capital Funchal is the perfect place to relax and unwind, whilst there is an array of hotel resorts to choose from. Tourists looking for more of an adventure can experience the archipelago’s mountainous landscape and go hiking.

One for the football fans out there, when arriving in the “Pearl of the Atlantic”, you will arrive at Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport.


Houston buildings.
Aberdeen and Houston have strong connections, both economically and culturally. Image: Shutterstock.

If this was written in the 2000s (up to the 2015 oil crash), this flight between the two oil cities would be a realistic proposal.

Despite Aberdeen being the oil capital of Europe since the 1960s, there has never been a direct flight between the two. This would have made sense both economically and culturally, with Grampian and Houston being twinned.

To this day, many Scots from the north-east live in the Texan city, but cannot fly back directly. In 2014, SAS launched an all business class service from Stavanger to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, but the 44-seat flight was cancelled a year later.

British Airways plane at Aberdeen International Airport.
British Airways’ only route from Aberdeen is to London Heathrow. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson.

Aberdeen Airport says ‘growing our network is a priority’

Aberdeen Airport used to label itself as “north Scotland’s gateway to the world” and it still has the right to do so, especially with good connections at home and abroad.

However, the loss of a direct flight to Paris was – and remains – a blow for the north-east and means people travelling on long-haul flights either have to travel via London or Amsterdam, or travel to Edinburgh or Glasgow.

One stumbling block in getting long-haul flights from the Dyce airport in the past was its small runway size, however, this can no longer be an excuse, as its expansion was completed in 2011.

With the criticism of some airlines’ performances to and from Aberdeen, maybe there is an opportunity for Jet2 (who fly to Madeira and Paphos) or similar low-cost companies to take advantage of this and provide more competition and options.

A spokesman for Aberdeen International Airport said: “Growing our route network will always be a key priority for Aberdeen International Airport.

“It is well established that commerce follows connectivity and this is why it is so important we continue to work with our city and national partners to bolster the region’s route network.”