Emirates has underlined its commitment to Scotland with plans to introduce a second daily non-stop flight to Glasgow, commencing 1st June 2012.
The announcement comes as a result of continued demand for Emirates’ service between Dubai and Glasgow, which began in 2004. Since then, the international airline of the UAE has carried over 1.7 million passengers and tens of millions of kilos of cargo.
The additional flight, coupled with an aircraft upgrade on the existing service, will increase Emirates’ capacity to Glasgow by 47 per cent, an extra 199 seats each way per day. It will also provide an additional 13 tonnes of daily cargo capacity.
First Class cabins will be available on both daily services, the first time this has been offered by a commercial airline operating into Scotland.
An Emirates Boeing 777 at Glasgow International Airport.
“This announcement illustrates our commitment to Scotland and to our wider UK route network in difficult economic times,” said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation. “Our Glasgow route has been a real success story, and we are confident that there is demand for additional services flying to and from Dubai and beyond to our global network of over 100 destinations.
“The introduction of a First Class cabin on both daily flights also means greater choice for passengers, while increased cargo capacity means more export business opportunities for cargo shippers in Scotland ,” added Mr Obaidalla.
“From a starting point in 2004, Emirates’ Dubai route has proved a huge success, generating over AED 931 million (£164 million) to date for the local economy and bringing more than 687,000 inbound passengers to Glasgow,” said Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, who joined an announcement event in Glasgow.
“The operation of a double daily service is a major step forward in terms of forging greater business links and increasing access between Glasgow and key Asian economic decision centres, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as emerging markets in China and India,” Councillor Matheson added.
The Glasgow authorities estimate that the twice-daily service will deliver a local economic benefit of AED 187 million (£33 million) with almost 140,000 inbound passengers in 2012 alone. Over the next five years, the route will be worth more than AED 1.1 billion (£200m) to the city, bringing more than 846,000 inbound passengers to Glasgow through to 2016.
“As part of our strategy to support economic growth, the Scottish Government is determined to improve our international air connections. The announcement of this new expanded service cements our growing business, education and cultural links with Dubai and provides an additional link to this key gateway through which to boost trade and tourism opportunities with key global markets such as south and south-east Asia, Africa and Australasia,” commented Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Cargo shippers across Scotland have taken advantage of Emirates’ excellent flight connections. The main commodities being shipped include Scottish produce such as smoked salmon and oysters, as well as oil-well equipment, helicopter and aircraft parts and medical equipment. The new scheduled evening service will be operated by a three-class Airbus A340-300, carrying 12 First Class passengers, 42 in Business Class and 213 in Economy Class. EK 025 departs Dubai at 1450hrs and arrives in Glasgow at 2000hrs.
EK 026 will depart daily from Glasgow at 2130hrs, arriving in Dubai at 0800hrs the next day. The existing day-time flight EK 027/EK 028 is being upgraded to a three-class Boeing 777-300ER with eight First Class Private Suites, 42 lie-flat beds in Business Class and 310 seats in Economy Class. It offers a generous 22 tonnes of cargo capacity.