Could Emirates Further Expand Into The UK Market?

As the juggernaut airline Emirates has been expanding around the world, many are starting to consider the possibility that they might move deeper into the British Isles. But how big is their UK operation, and how might they expand it?

Emirates B777 in flight
Emirates is looking to increase capacity into the UK. Photo: Emirates

Where does Emirates currently fly?

Emirates is a global airline with a huge fleet of 256 aircraft and an impressive capacity of around 400 seats per aircraft on average. They only operate long-haul high capacity aircraft like A380s and Boeing 777s.

They fly to 158 destinations across 85 countries. If you need to get somewhere on the other side of the planet, likely Emirates is a good choice.

Emirates Airlines new business class
Emirates operates an impressive global network. Photo: Emirates Airline

What about the United Kingdom?

According to Tim Clark, the UK makes up more than a quarter of Emirates’ capacity and is responsible for 56% of its European profits. Thus, the UK marketing is a massively important benchmark for the airline and it makes perfect sense why they want to improve their standing in the local market.

So far they fly into:

  • London (Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted)
  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Glasgow
  • Newcastle
  • Edinburgh

But its not just about where they fly, but how often they do. Of the above destinations they actually operate 11 daily services into London (Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted). This is so much capacity that their nearest competitors to the Middle East are struggling to compete.

Emirates, Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show
Emirates offers some great connectivity into the UK. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Could they expand more in the United Kingdom?

According to an article from our friends at Aviation Week, Emirates believes they can increase their presence in other UK regions as London becomes more congested.

Whilst they have not made it clear what airports might suit them, looking at their current services we might suggest:

  • Liverpool – Whilst they already fly into Manchester, there is likely a big market that also wants them to fly out of the sister city of Liverpool. Much like Edinburgh and Glasglow, there is enough business to operate at this airport.
  • Belfast – Currently they only have one service to the emerald isle, to Dublin. Those in Belfast need to head south into the Republic of Ireland instead of flying out their home airport.
  • Leeds – Currently Emirates already flies into Birmingham and Newcastle, but they have left the middle between the two untouched. By having a service to Leeds they could capitalize on the population found throughout the middle of England.
  • Bristol – If you live in the south of England, you need to go to London to head to Dubai. Now Bristol is a small airport (we flew out of here to Poland) and might not have the capacity for an Emirates plane, but if they could offer a service it would be incredibly popular.

Not only do they see new destinations, but they believe they can increase capacity from 11 flights to much more to London. 

“Clark said he believes London Heathrow Airport should get a third runway, but he voiced doubt as to whether the political decision to add capacity will make it through the planning process” – Aviation Week.

Following this article, Simple Flying got in touch with Emirates who issued this statement.

The United Kingdom is an important region for Emirates and we currently operate 130 direct flights per week to eight airports across the UK. We have seen significant growth in capacity over the past year alone, with our additional frequencies to London Stansted and launching direct flights to Edinburgh. We will continue to review all future opportunities but have nothing to announce at this time.

What do you think? Do you think this is a good idea? Let us know in the comments.