A major airline is to launch the first service between the Scottish capital and the Middle East.

Qatar Airlines will introduce its 787 Dreamliner service between Edinburgh and Doha on May 28.

The operator said the flight, which takes less than seven hours, will significantly reduce journey times between Edinburgh and destinations around the world, and reduce the need for domestic transfers in the UK.

Qatar Airlines said the route will also be Scotland's first scheduled service on one of the world's newest aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of the airline, said: "We are delighted to confirm that the Boeing 787 will operate on this important new route and are sure that not only will this benefit the local market in Scotland, but also attract a significant amount of business and trade links for those wishing to travel to Edinburgh from all corners of the world."

He added: "The start of services from Edinburgh to Doha not only offers travellers from the Scottish capital access to the Middle East in under seven hours, but also a quicker journey time to other popular destinations in Asia, India and Australasia."

The most popular destinations for those using the new route are expected to be in Asia and Australasia, with journey times reduced from around 26 hours with two transfers to 20 hours with one transfer at Doha's soon to be opened Hamad International Airport, the airline said.

The service between Edinburgh and and the Qatari capital will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with room for 22 business class and 232 economy class passengers.

Qatar Airlines already flies to London and Manchester in the UK and currently serves 136 destinations around the world.

Mr Al Baker said that one reason for choosing Edinburgh rather than Glasgow for the new route was that the west of Scotland city already has a link to the Middle East, as Emirates flies to Dubai.

He said: "Glasgow is already served from our region so we don't like to follow people, we like to lead people to go to new places."