UNITED Airlines is running the rule over a direct flight to link the oil industry hubs of Aberdeen and Houston after committing itself to maintaining its routes between New York and Scotland's two largest cities.
The carrier, which was created in November through the merger of Continental and United, operates 21 flights a day from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Newark during the summer and 13 services during the winter.
Charles Duncan, United's vice-president of transatlantic sales, said the airline was today preparing to welcome the one-millionth passenger on its Edinburgh-to-Newark service.
But he said additional flights on the existing Scottish routes would be dependent on passenger demand, oil prices and the performance of the economies on both sides of the Atlantic.
Duncan told The Scotsman: "We remain committed to the Scottish marketplace. We have no intentions of leaving or cutting back and passengers will now have access to a bigger network. We have no plans to add flights to Edinburgh or Glasgow at the moment. But we're also not planning on pulling anything down, which I think is just as important."
On a possible Aberdeen route, Duncan added: "We are considering it. We'd love to serve Aberdeen direct and, at the moment, we have a lot of passengers from Aberdeen flying to Houston via our Heathrow service.
"But the challenge we face is that there are not enough people using the service to justify a non-stop flight between Aberdeen and Houston. The 757 aircraft we use to fly from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Newark wouldn't reach Houston so we'd need a larger airplane.
"But we're aware of the demand and are working with partners to link Aberdeen with the Heathrow flight. I was also excited to hear Lufthansa is going to be flying from Aberdeen to Frankfurt, which will give passengers another link into our network."
(From The Scotsman newspaper)