To mark Emirates' 20 years of service at Glasgow International Airport, flight EK027, served by its iconic A380, was welcomed to its gate at the airport by a piper after arriving from Dubai on Tuesday.

Flying the plane was FO Lewis Ferguson, who worked his way up from the airport’s security team to become a First Officer for the world’s largest international airline.

The Paisley-born pilot said he was "thankful" for the opportunity to pilot the flight, 20 years to the day since Emirates' inaugural flight from the gateway on April 10, 2004.

Mr Ferguson, who was flying into Glasgow Airport for the third time with Emirates, said: "It feels completely unreal, it was a privilege to be asked to do it.

"Ten years ago, I was stood at the perimeter fence before I started my flight training watching the first A380 land so it’s a real moment to be asked to do it."

READ MORE: 'A resounding success': Emirates marks 20 years of service at Scots airport

The pilot worked for easyJet for six years after doing his flight training in 2016 with Flight Training Europe and worked in Spain before being based in Glasgow.

The 30-year-old said it was "surreal" when he joined Emirates in June last year, having initially secured the role in 2019 before the Covid pandemic.

He said: "Seeing this aircraft [A380] land here I thought 'that’s what I want to do', and do all the different routes [Emirates] do with the worldwide network.

"I stayed with easyJet during Covid but then got back in with Emirates after that."

Aged 18, Mr Ferguson worked at Glasgow Airport in airport security for six months. He says the role gave him the motivation to follow his dream and become a pilot.

The Herald: Emirates marked 20 years of service at Glasgow International Airport on TuesdayEmirates marked 20 years of service at Glasgow International Airport on Tuesday (Image: Gordon Terris Herald & Times)

The former St Andrew’s Academy pupil said: "I’m just a boy from Paisley, I went to school in Paisley, you just need to be determined, never give up and believe in yourself.

"That’s what it takes."

The pilot's mum, Amanda Fryar, also works in the aviation industry. She was on the tarmac to watch her son arrive on the special anniversary flight to Glasgow.

She said: "What an achievement for him. For the family, friends, neighbours, it’s such an accolade for Lewis to be asked to do that.

"We are from Paisley. He was brought up in Paisley. He was born in Paisley. Glasgow Airport is in Paisley, so he’s flying this aircraft back into his hometown.

READ MORE: Scottish airport to launch new long-distance routes in record schedule

"Nobody can believe he’s been asked to do this, especially after such a short time of being with the airline, it’s a great experience he’s been chosen to bring this aircraft in."

Ms Fryar has worked at Glasgow Airport since 1991 after starting with British Midland International (BMI), working in various roles, including load controller and duty manager.

She is currently employed as an airport services officer for Emirates, and oversees the day-to-day running of the operation "above wing" - including the check-in desk - and "below wing" - overseeing operations such as luggage getting loaded and offloaded.

Ms Fryar said: "Every day is different. The [variety of] people you meet is unbelievable from all walks of life.

"There is a right buzz around the airport. We’ve got so much freedom, although you’re working, there’s so much to do at the airport, there’s a variety of duties that need to be done in a day, so you’re never stuck in one place.

"It’s an amazing place to be around and you work with amazing people."

She said she was "absolutely elated" when her son also started working for Emirates.

The 53-year-old added: "Me, his dad and sister all felt so proud of him when he went out to Dubai. He sees Emirates as being the crème de la crème and that’s the way we all feel about it. To be flying the A380 is an unbelievable achievement."