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Rumor: Emirates to add Glasgow as their third UK A380 destination?

The story of Emirates in the United Kingdom is an astounding one. They started with sub-daily A310 flights to London Gatwick (they couldn’t even procure slots at Heathrow) 20 or so years back, and now have well over 100 frequencies weekly to the United Kingdom with London getting seven A380s daily alone and with other significant operations in the midlands, up north and in Scotland.

The latest development in this story is that rumors are starting to circulate that Emirates’ newest A380 destination in the UK will be Glasgow, adding to the airline’s existing London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester A380 operations.


According to Business Traveler, when asked about the issue Emirates’ UK vice president Laure Berryman answered that “it’s a question of when rather than if”. So with GLA’s runway and terminal already A380 capable, it could be sooner rather than later for the latest airport to enter into A380 operations.
The mere thought of Glasgow International Airport being a potential A380 host let alone from an Asian carrier back when the original idea of the A380 was first touted by Airbus in the late 1990s is laughable – but it seems like it might just become a reality. And the numbers are there to back it as well – British Airways’ perennial neglect of the central and northern regions of England and Scotland in favor of London has been a boon for Emirates. The airline has seized the lack of long haul international air travel options from these regions and offered passengers in Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham. Glasgow and Edinburgh a one stop gateway to the Middle East and Asia, something much more appealing that doing a transit in London or two stop options beyond.
Emirates says that they now carry 410,000 passengers annually from GLA alone through their current twice daily 777-300ER flights, which represents a 326% increase in passenger numbers since the airline first launched the route in 2004. Many of these passengers either stop over in Dubai before continuing on to their final destination or do a straight transit through to other points in the Middle East, India, East/South East Asia or to either Australia or New Zealand. Given this, the airline is also looking into keeping their current 777 operations and adding a third daily rotation to connect with more flights in Dubai.
That said, the A380 retains a certain ‘wow’ factor with EK’s on board lounge, stand up bar and shower spas that the 777 lacks so ultimately it will come down what the premium demand looks like on the route. Another question will be if its the newly introduced 2 class version of the A380 with no First Class or the normal 3 class version that makes up the bulk of their A380 fleet.
Either way, Emirates will most likely be continuing to expand their offering to regional UK airports with Glasgow as the focus but with the likes of BHX and EDI not far behind.
Perhaps this might be a precursor for new flights to Cornwall in Wales or Belfast in Northern Ireland? It’d be quite the feat if EK served all four home nations of the United Kingdom – and I’d say they’re well on their way to doing so.
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