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

To mark the 20-year milestone on Tuesday, Emirates flight EK027, served by its iconic A380, arrived at Glasgow Airport, with a celebration including a Bagpiper.

The flight was flown by Paisley-born Pilot FO Lewis Ferguson, who worked his way up from the airport’s security team to a First Officer for Emirates.

In the 20 years since its inaugural flight on April 10, 2004, Emirates has carried more than 5.62 million passengers on 18,990 roundtrip flights to and from Dubai. 

As well as facilitating inbound tourism and contributing to the local economy, Emirates operations from Glasgow Airport see hundreds of tonnes of cargo transported each week. In 2023 alone, Emirates transported more than four million kgs of cargo via its daily service to Dubai. 

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Richard Jewsbury, Emirates divisional vice president in the UK, 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 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, added: "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 passengers, 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."