Glasgow Airport will let plane-spotters park for free today as history is made when the giant double-decker A380 jet arrives on a scheduled flight.

The “superjumbo” will arrive from Dubai at 19.45 and hundreds of aviation enthusiasts are expected to be there to witness the Emirates flight touching down.

The world’s largest commercial aircraft has visited Scotland once before – to mark the same airline’s 10th anniversary in Glasgow, on April 10, 2014. 

However, flight EK025 marks the first time it has arrived on a scheduled passenger service and Glasgow Airport bosses have invested around £8 million in infrastructure to make sure the airport is ready for the big moment.

Preparations have included a new stand 30 where the superjumbo will park. This includes Scotland’s only triple air bridge – ensuring passengers disembark without descending to the ground. 

Having three arms instead of two will allow passengers to board and disembark more efficiently. Infrastructure to refuel the plane and handle food and drink, baggage and rubbish from both sides of the aircraft will also help the airline 
keep costly “ground time” down to a minimum.

The airfield has been modified by widening and strengthening secondary taxi-ways and lowering obstacles such as traffic lights that may have damaged the aircraft’s wings.

HeraldScotland:

The A380 has a wingspan of nearly 80 metres, the same length as seven double decker buses.

Meanwhile, fully loaded,  it weighs more than 45 double-deckers, with a maximum take off weight of 575 tonnes.

Spectators’ excitement is likely to be undimmed by the knowledge that the A380 is already history, despite its popularity with passengers. 

Launched in 2007, the £400 million planes were intended to carry large numbers of passengers between major international hubs, with further flights on smaller planes taking them along “spokes” to their eventual destination. 

The A380’s capacity is around 550 passengers and it can operate over a  range of up to 8,000 nautical miles. 

However, the air industry is increasingly looking to use small, versatile aircraft to carry more customers direct to their destination and the A380 never achieved the expectations of manufacturer Airbus who had hoped to sell 700 of them. 

In fact, just 313 had been ordered by January of this year, with Emirates operating more than 100 of those, with plans for a fleet of 162.

When its biggest customer cut that order by a quarter, the writing was on the wall and Airbus announced in February it would cease production by 2021.

In Glasgow, viewing the giant aircraft will be limited to specific areas around the perimeter of the airfield and the airport, working with Police Scotland, has put measures in place  to ensure safety and minimise congestion around the airport. 

The airport will offer  visitors six hours’ free parking at its long-stay car park. But authorities say it is important the number of private vehicles travelling to the airport is managed and there will be no waiting or parking permitted on any of the airfield’s perimeter roads: Barnsford Road, Abbotsinch Road and Walkinshaw Road. 

Drivers who ignore these restrictions face having vehicles towed at their own expense, and the same fate awaits any vehicle causing an obstruction or parked within three metres of the perimeter fence.

The A380 will be used for the first regular service to Scotland, which will run until September 30. The aircraft will spend less than two hours on the tarmac before departing for the return journey to Dubai International Airport at 21.30pm. 

It has been pressed into service due to the temporary closure of a runway at Dubai, but is expected to continue to serve Glasgow when engineering works in Dubai are concluded, along with a Boeing 777, which will effectively increase capacity to the equivalent of three flights a day.

Anyone who does intend to attend the event is being encouraged to use public transport, if possible. Short-stay car parks will be open as normal and can be pre-booked at glasgowairport.com.

Everything you need to about the arrival 

Flight details

Inbound: EK025, scheduled arrival 19:45

Outbound: EK026, scheduled departure 21:30

Getting to the airport

Everyone is encouraged to use public transport if possible to reduce congestion in and around the airport

Visit glasgowairport.com/to-and-from/ for more information on the various travel options to and from the airport

Parking

Free parking for up to six hours will be available within the long-stay car park located on Arran Avenue from 5pm onwards

It is possible to walk from both the long-stay car park and main terminal building to the viewing areas highlighted in the attached map

The short-stay car parks will be open as normal and can be pre-booked at glasgowairport.com

Traffic enforcement measures will be in place on the day and any vehicles causing an obstruction or parked within three metres of the perimeter fence (including the access gates) will be removed at the owner’s expense

Safety

Keep to the pavements or grass areas if viewing the aircraft from the perimeter

Do not use any roads as a walking route or viewing area - the roads around the airport will remain open and traffic must be able to pass freely at all times

Climbing aides are not permitted and do not attempt to climb the fence - airport security and police will be stationed around the perimeter of the airfield

Members of the public may be waiting for several hours and consuming food and drink on the day, so take care not to leave any litter as packaging, containers and other objects can create a safety risk to aircraft