New Stansted-Dubai flight launched to build business links to Middle East and beyond
- Credit: Archant
Stansted Airport today celebrated the first flight by an international Middle Eastern airline from its runways.
A new Emirates Boeing 777-300 plane, which boasts virtual windows in its first class cabins, touched down at Stansted (STN) in its inaugural flight from Dubai (DXB).
The flight marks the first time that direct flights to the UAE have operated from the Eastern region of the UK.
“In our 27 year history, this is a great moment,” said Stansted CEO Ken O’Toole. “I think Essex likes a bit of bling, so bells and whilstles will go down very well here!” he joked about the Emirates plane, which also features fully-enclosed private suites in first class.
Despite the government announcement earlier this week that Heathrow would be getting a third runway, weakening Stansted’s own case for also needing an additional runway, Mr O’Toole is buoyant about his airport’s future.
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“Over the next ten years, Stansted will account for 50 percent of all air travel growth to and from London. That trend is already evident in 2018 - we are the fastest growing major London airport. Stansted has become unrecognisable since it was aquired by MAG (Manchester Airport Group) five years ago. We have invested £150 million in facilities and added nearly 10 million passengers per annum. Critically for me, we have formed local stakeholder relationships including creation of education and employment initiatives. This sees the opening in September of an on campus higher education college - the UK’s first on-site airport college in partnership with Harlow College.”
Stansted also has a planning application currently under consideration Uttlesford District Council to boost its infrastructure in order to increase the maximum passenger throughput at Stansted Airport from 35 million passengers per annum to 43 million per annum. “This week we received the support of the government for this application, and more than 1,200 local people and businesses have written to the council in support of our application,” said Mr O’Toole.
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Emirates Airways Divisional Vice President UK Richard Jewsbury says the new route isn’t just for tourists headed to Dubai, but also for people who want to explore the far East and Australasia. “Its also about the corporate business market as Dubai is a business centre in its own right but it also offers also seamless business connections to Hong Kong, Shang Hai and Singapore.
“The new airplanes bound for Dubai each day have 20 tonnes of freight available on board as cargo so we hope regional manufacturing industry will find that useful. Its also particularly useful for farmers, given the temperature controlled air freight capability.”