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An Emirates A380 touches down in Manchester (Photo: Emirates)

20 Years Later: A Look at Emirates’ Manchester Success

Emirates has played a sizable role at Manchester, providing direct services to the Middle East and beyond from Dubai International Airport for over 20 years. Currently, Emirates has two Airbus A380s and one Boeing B777-300ER flying into Manchester providing these services.

From January 2017, the airline will be incorporating three daily A380 flights to Dubai, which will expand the number of seats. The airline’s presence at Manchester began in 1990 when the initial weekly flights operated using the Airbus A310. The service began on a twice per week basis. These flights, as well as operations to London Gatwick, kickstarted the airline’s success within the UK.  Services to Heathrow were kickstarted one year after the inaugural flight to Manchester.

In terms of success at Manchester, route data indicates that there is a positive contrast from the airline’s 26-year-history in terms of cargo and passenger numbers. In the 1990s, Emirates was only carrying 25,000 passengers per week to 23 different destinations around the world. In 2016, the airline has carried 610,000 passengers from Manchester alone, even before the end of the year. Up to now, this is a 9.5% increase compared to the previous year and the airline aims to conclude the 2016 financial year by carrying over a million passengers when the three-times-daily service commences.

Cargo numbers for Emirates at Manchester have definitely evolved over the past 26 years of commercial service. In the 1990s, the airline was carrying 450 tons of cargo per week between Manchester and Dubai. Now, to the present day, the airline carries over 22,000 tons per week, showing a dramatic increase, thanks to the added morning and evening services over the years. The airline has carried a record 9 million passengers since the 1990s and aims to carry more throughout the upcoming years.

Emirates has been a key player for cargo at Manchester. Alongside the cargo services that have been provided by Lufthansa Cargo, FedEx, and DHL, the Dubai-based carrier has been partly responsible for the airport’s trade value being increased by £6bn in May 2016 as well as contributing to the 100,000+ tons of cargo carried per year out of the airport, which is increasing by 7% year-after-year. This definitely shows that Emirates has all their bases covered in terms of operations at Manchester and that based on the cargo and passenger numbers, targets they are hoping to achieve. It appears that the airline is wanting to forecast further growth at the airport in order to accommodate for the one million passengers per year to be carried from Manchester.

All-in-all, the airline appears to increasingly expand at Manchester so then services catch up with the high-density frequencies to that of Heathrow and Gatwick with a combined 10+ flights per day taking off from the London region alone. In order to utilize the airline’s UK success, the carrier will be looking to potentially expand operations from Glasgow, Birmingham, and Newcastle if they can be granted access to high-density catchment areas at each airport.


  • James is a passionate AvGeek who has been actively spotting for years. James has been an Aviation Enthusiast for 7 years and has a fond likening to Concorde! James hopes to grow in the aviation industry with journalism being his primary focus.

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