Emirates celebrates 20-years’ flying from Glasgow

Emirates celebrated 20 years of operating from Glasgow Airport on Wednesday (April 10) with an event to welcome the arrival of its daily A380 service from Dubai.

Richard Dewsbury, divisional vice president for the UK, told Travel Weekly: “It’s a thank you to all the people who have supported us over the years – not least the Scottish travel trade.

“We could not have put an A380 into an airport like Glasgow without their support.”

However, a second and bigger event for agents, a drinks reception and entertainment, is planned for May 16.

Emirates launched flights from Glashow on April 10, 2004, and has carried more than 5.6 million passengers on the route since.

It introduced the A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft, into daily service on the route in 2019.

When the carrier relaunched flights from Glasgow in 2022 following the suspension of flying during the Covid-19 pandemic it did so initially using a smaller Boeing 777. But Emirates resumed its daily A380 service with capacity for 517 passengers just over a year ago.

Dewsbury reported the Glasgow services had operated 87% full on average over the last 12 months “driven by demand to Dubai and beyond”, with the carrier offering 75 connections from Dubai within three hours of arrival.

He highlighted demand to Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Japan and South Africa from Glasgow, in addition to Dubai.

More than half the bookings on the route come through the trade and Dewsbury said: “We’re getting back to growth and having a good look at the network and at the UK. I would be very happy to see more capacity come to the UK and to Scotland.”

Speaking at the celebration, Dewsbury said: “We’re proud to have served Scotland via Glasgow for more than 20 years, connecting millions of passengers and facilitating valuable trade across our global network.

“We’ve seen significant growth over the two decades and forward bookings for this route are up 51% year-on-year in 2024.

“We’d like to sincerely thank all our stakeholders – the local community, customers, businesses, suppliers, ground handlers, the Scottish Government, local authorities, Glasgow Airport, and travel agents for their unwavering support over the two decades.

He added: “Glasgow remains a key market from both passenger and cargo perspectives and is a hugely popular destination for our passengers around the world.

Ronald Leitch, interim chief operations officer at AGS Airports which owns and operates Glasgow Airport, said: “The Glasgow-Dubai service has been a resounding success story. It was Scotland’s first route to the Middle East and remains the country’s only direct service to Dubai.”

Dewsbury took up a new role in March as Emirates executive vice-president for corporate and customer experience planning in Dubai but continues to oversee the UK operation.

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