Pope crowds urged to stay away from Edinburgh Airport


By Oliver Farrimond

THRONGS of well-wishers expected to greet the Pope’s arrival in Scotland have been warned to stay away from Edinburgh Airport.

Pope Benedict XVI will touch down away from the main terminal building, where his engagement on Scottish soil will be a greeting from Prince Phillip on the airport tarmac.

And now airport bosses have said that they fear crowds of onlookers attempting to get a glimpse of his Holiness could cause chaos for other travellers.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “We are keen to ensure people don’t come to the airport to try to see the Pope arriving, but go to the designated viewing areas in Princes Street.

A Catholic Church source added: “Our advice is the best place to see him is in the city centre, where there will be a full morning of festivities.”

After landing, Pope Benedict XVI will be driven by limousine from Edinburgh Airport to the Palace of Holyrood House to meet with the Queen.

However the City of Edinburgh Council has urged that crowds avoid trying to get a glimpse of the Pope on this route, and stick to the designated viewing area at Princes Street.

A council spokesperson said: “”There will be very limited viewing available near Holyrood Palace on the Pope’s departure.

“However, to avoid disappointment, traffic congestion and risks to public safety, we would urge people to avoid Holyrood Palace as well as the Cardinal’s residence and the airport.”

Following his meeting at Holyrood Palace, the Pope will make his way to Princes Street, before being driven the full length of the street and up Lothian Road towards Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s official residence in Morningside.

An airport spokesman added that Edinburgh Airport’s flight schedule would not be affected by the Pope’s arrival.

He said: “The message is that it’s business as usual for us.

“We are offering a full schedule of flights.”