Emirates is celebrating 30 years of operations in the UK this month and has announced that it is on track to carry five million passengers between the UK and Dubai in the 2017/18 financial year, making it a record year.

On July 6, 1987, the airline launched its first flight to Gatwick. Operated by the Airbus A310, Emirates carried just 87,000 passengers in its first year of UK operations with six aircraft in its fleet, offering UK passengers onward connections to six other destinations. Since then the airline has added services to a further five UK gateways - Manchester, Heathrow, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle - with 126 non-stop flights per week from the UK to Dubai, and connections on to a route map that now spans 140 destinations across six continents.

The company has highlighted that the top five destinations for UK travellers on its network for the last 12 months include Dubai (via its direct flight from the UK), Bangkok, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Singapore.

Laurie Berryman, UK vice president for the airline, said: “The last 30 years have been an incredible journey for us. We’ve grown our UK presence to serve more passengers with the latest wide-body aircraft, flying more people to more places around the world. We are proud to have become an airline that is able to offer 18 daily flights for customers across the UK on modern, high-tech aircraft, including 13 on the iconic A380.

“Customers can fly direct into Dubai – a cultural and business hub – but also connect on to hugely popular destinations like Bangkok and Australia. We’re looking forward to the next 30 years, helping passengers explore more of the world, and conversely welcoming inbound tourism to the beautiful UK.”

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