Glasgow & West Scotland

Airbus A380 'super jumbo' lands in Scotland for first time

A380 lands at Glasgow Airport
Image caption Thousands of spectators at Glasgow Airport watched the giant A380 land there for the first time

The world's largest passenger aircraft has landed in Scotland for the first time.

An Airbus A380 "super jumbo" operated by Emirates landed safely at Glasgow Airport at about 12:35.

Thousands of aviation fans turned up to watch the giant aircraft arrive on Scottish soil for the first time.

The plane's arrival marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of scheduled services between Dubai and Glasgow.

The aircraft stands more than 24m (79ft) tall and has a wing span of almost 80m (262ft). It can carry more than 500 passengers.

Image copyright Nial Moffat
Image caption The huge aircraft made its first landing onto Scottish soil at about 12:35

Since Emirates began flying from Glasgow in April 2004, it has carried more than 2.4 million passengers between Scotland and the airline's global hub.

It usually flies Boeing 777 aircraft on the route, which operates twice daily.

Scotland's two busiest airports, Glasgow and Edinburgh, are locked in a battle to win new long-haul routes.

Qatar Airways will begin flying between the Scottish capital and Doha on 28 May.

The carrier will offer passengers the opportunity to travel on board the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which can carry about 250 passengers.

Aviation experts say the Dreamliner's range and fuel efficiency may encourage other airlines to launch long-haul services from Scotland.

The Scottish government has described securing further improvements to the country's air links as "crucial".

Image copyright Emirates
Image caption Aviation fans headed to Glasgow Airport to witness the plane's arrival in Scotland

The historic landing was praised by Transport Minister Keith Brown who believed that the service is a statement of strength in Scotland's reputation as a global transport hub.

Marker for progress

He said: "The Scottish Government has been a supporter of this important link from the outset and you need only look at the passenger numbers to see how successful the route has become.

"The service provides a real boost for Scotland's economy, improving connectivity from both a business and tourism standpoint, and what better way to celebrate this achievement than welcoming the world's largest commercial airliner - the A380 - to Scotland for the first time."

Amanda McMillan, Managing Director of Glasgow Airport, echoed the minister's view that the arrival of the A380 was a marker for the progress of Scottish commercial aviation.

Ms McMillan said: "Over the course of the past 10 years Emirates has established itself as Scotland's leading long-haul airline and we are honoured it has chosen to mark our successful partnership by operating Scotland's first commercial A380 service. This is a significant milestone for Glasgow and for Scottish aviation."

Speaking on board the A380, Emirates Senior Vice President Hubert Frach said: "This is a big day for us. We're marking the tenth anniversary of flights between Glasgow and Dubai and we've brought a big aircraft to celebrate."

The airline has no plans to use the super jumbo on flights to Scotland in future, and believes the current twice daily service using Boeing 777 aircraft suits passengers' needs.

Asked if the A380 could be flown on the route again, Mr Frach said: "We're very happy that we are here with a double daily triple seven service to Dubai. That allows us to offer great connectivity to the market."

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