Emirates marks 20 years of service at Glasgow International Airport

Date Posted: 10 Apr, 2024

Emirates, the world’s largest international airline, is celebrating two decades of flying to and from Glasgow Airport.

In the 20 years since its inaugural flight on 10 April 2004, Emirates has carried over 5.62 million passengers on 18,990 roundtrip flights to and from Dubai, connecting travellers and businesses in the region with its expansive global network.

To mark the significant 20-year milestone, Emirates flight EK027, served by its iconic A380, arrived at Glasgow Airport’s stand 30, home to Scotland’s only triple airbridge, with a celebration including a Bagpiper.

Connecting Scotland with the world

Emirates operations from Glasgow have made a significant contribution to the local economy, facilitating inbound tourism, creating thousands of jobs, as well as transporting hundreds of tonnes of cargo in the belly hold of its flights every week.

In 2023 alone, Emirates transported over 4 million kgs of cargo via Glasgow Airport. Goods transported over the years include quintessential Scottish products ranging from barrels of Whisky and Scottish Salmon through to rarer British cargo like Aston Martins.

Richard Jewsbury, Emirates Divisional Vice President in the UK, commented: “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 have seen significant growth over the last two decades and forward bookings for this route were up 51% year-on-year in 2024. We’d like to sincerely thank all our stakeholders including the local community, customers, businesses, suppliers, ground handlers, the Scottish Government, local authorities, Glasgow Airport, and travel agents for their unwavering support over the past two decades as we reach this milestone.

“Glasgow remains a key market from both passenger and cargo perspectives and is a hugely popular destination for our passengers around the world. We look forward to continuing to provide our best-in-class services and greater connectivity to Scotland.”

Ronald Leitch, Interim Chief Operations Officer at AGS Airports, said:

“The Glasgow Dubai service has been a resounding success story for Glasgow and the wider region. It was Scotland’s first route to the Middle East and remains the country’s only direct service to Dubai.

“Both airport and airline have celebrated so many milestones during the last two decades, such as the opening of the stunning Emirates’ lounge in 2014, the first visit of the A380 that same year and then the introduction of the world’s largest passenger aircraft into daily service in 2019 and again last year. Despite being a daily occurrence, the arrival and departure of Scotland’s only A380 service still captures the imagination of passenger, the public and our airport colleagues.  

“I remember vividly the first Emirates’ flight coming in to land all those years ago. In the ensuing years, this service has been instrumental in connecting Scotland’s leisure and business travellers through the world’s busiest international airport in Dubai. Equally, the service also plays a significant role in ensuring hundreds of thousands of tonnes of Scotland’s finest goods are exported globally each year.

“To mark 20 years of this hugely important service at Glasgow Airport is a tremendous honour and achievement for Scotland.”   

Daily flights served by Emirates iconic A380

In April 2019 the Emirates A380 made Scottish aviation history by becoming the first A380 to form part of a scheduled service anywhere in Scotland. Emirates currently operates a daily service from Glasgow to Dubai using its much-loved A380, continuing to meet demand across multiple cabin classes. Emirates’ summer schedule will see flight EK028 from Glasgow to Dubai depart at 14:35pm arriving in Dubai at 01:05am local time. The return flight EK027 from Dubai to Glasgow departs at 07:50am local time and lands at 12:45pm.

The remarkable Emirates A380 offers 14 Private Suites in First Class, 76 fully flat-bed seats in Business Class, and 427 seats in Economy Class. Passengers traveling in premium cabin classes can also enjoy features like the Onboard Lounge and First-Class shower spa, and customers in every cabin can savour curated dining options as well as award-winning inflight entertainment.

Fly better to over 140 destinations with Emirates

Emirates’ extensive network spans over 140 destinations, across six continents. The airline continues to place top priority on delivering a first-class customer experience for all.

Emirates also offers its customers an unmatched culinary experience in the skies with regionally inspired multi-course menus developed by a team of award-winning chefs complemented by a wide selection of premium beverages. Elevating Emirates cuisine with epicurean flavour and flair, chefs use a vast array of ingredients to create delectable dishes across all cabin classes.

Customers can sit back and relax with more than 6,500 channels of carefully curated global entertainment content featuring movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, games, audiobooks and more with ice, Emirates’ award-winning inflight entertainment system.

For more information, visit emirates.com. Tickets can be purchased on emirates.com, Emirates Sales Office, via travel agents or through online travel agents.

20 Facts for 20 Years


10 April 2024: Today marks twenty years of Emirates flying to and from Glasgow Airport. In light of the milestone, here are 20 facts to celebrate the partnership…

  1. A Popular Route: Over the last 20 years, over 5.62 million passengers have flown Emirates to and from Glasgow Airport, on a whopping 18,990 roundtrip flights..
  1. Essential Eastbound Service: Dubai is the only long-haul eastbound destination currently available from Glasgow, making Emirates’ once-daily service to Dubai an essential route for connecting Scots with around 75 end destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Australasia.
  2. Towering Above: With a cruising altitude of 43,100 feet, the A380 flies at over 103 times the height of Scotland’s tallest freestanding building, Glasgow Tower.
  1. Spread Your Wings: The A380’s wingspan is 79.8 metres – on its side it would be more than twice the height of Glasgow Cathedral located in the heart of the city.
  1. Let’s Glas-Go: The A380 can carry 517 passengers at capacity, the same as a full house audience in the Main Auditorium of Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre, which means up to 16,027 Glaswegians could be flying each month from Glasgow to Dubai.
  1. Anniversaries All Round: Emirates has a number of long-standing employees based at Glasgow Airport. In fact, three members of staff are also celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, having all joined the Emirates team on 15th March 2004.
  1. Making Scottish Aviation History: When Glasgow Airport originally welcomed the Emirates A380 on a scheduled service in 2019, it become the first A380 to form part of a scheduled service anywhere in Scotland.
  1. Accommodating the A380: Ahead of the inaugural A380 flight in 2019, Glasgow airport overhauled its runway and docking station to accommodate the aircraft, which can weigh up to 575 tonnes.
  1. In it for the Long Haul: From the 17 members of staff currently working across the sales, cargo, airport, and lounge departments, the Emirates team at Glasgow boasts an impressive 135.1 years of service, with an average tenure of 7.94 years. Emirates employs Scottish nationals – including cabin crew and pilots – as part of the group’s 100,000-strong global workforce.
  1. Service In The Sky: There are 24 Emirates cabin crew on every A380 flight, which means over the next six months alone, 4,320 crew will be flying from Glasgow to Dubai to serve guests.
  1. Sky High Career: The Pilot of the 20th Anniversary flight today is FO Lewis Ferguson, who actually worked his way up from Airport Security at Glasgow Airport to flying the Emirates A380!
  1. Holiday Hot Spots: With plenty of destinations to choose from across Emirates’ expansive global network, Dubai, Bangkok, Lahore, Singapore, Australia, India, Thailand, New Zealand and South Africa have proven to be some of the most popular end destinations for Glaswegians.
  1. Soaring Demand: For inbound tourism, travel demand on the Dubai to Glasgow route continues to grow, with forward bookings up by 51% year-on-year in 2024. Glasgow is also seeing soaring demand for outbound travel, with travel out of Glasgow up 66% this year.
  1. Scottish Holiday Haven: With inbound demand on the up,Glasgow proves to be a popular choice across the board. However, Dubai and Australia come out on top as the most popular origin destinations for people booking flights to Glasgow.
  1. Economic Boom: In 2022, 3.2 million visits were made by international visitors to Scotland, resulting in 29.7 million nights and a total spend of £3,151 million. The average international visitor to Scotland spent a total of £972 over a 9.2-day trip, with a daily expenditure of £109. (Source: VisitScotland)
  1. Half Term Getaways: October is the most popular month to fly out of Glasgow, coinciding with Scots searching for sun for their Autumn half term getaways. July, however, is the most popular month to fly into Glasgow.
  1. A Dual-Purpose Aircraft: The A380 doesn’t just carry passengers Emirates SkyCargo carries a host of items for export, too. In fact, in 2023 alone Emirates transported 4,042,125kgs of cargo via Glasgow Airport.
  1. Scottish Produce Galore: Among the cargo that Emirates handles are quintessential Scottish products like whisky and Scottish salmon. The most popular destinations for Scottish salmon, shellfish, and oysters include China and Hong Kong, while Scottish Whisky is most often exported to South Africa, Singapore, Sydney and Korea.
  1. Cool Cargo: Beyond everyday cargo goods, Emirates has played its part in transporting some other noteworthy items. Emirates has transported Penguins from Edinburgh Zoo, an Aston Martin car, and even historic memorabilia of Ernst Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer.
  1. Premium Passengers: Emirates operates a large lounge at Glasgow Airport, which was opened in 2014, and offers chauffeur drive services for premium passengers.