UK airports 'have to do quite a lot' to cater for rising demand in the UK, said Sir Tim Clark
The UK is the most profitable European market for Emirates airline, said the company's president Sir Tim Clark.
Britain currently accounts for 26 percent of Emirates’ capacity and is responsible for 56 percent of its total profit from Europe, Clark said.
The overall Dubai-London route alone is currently valued at $800 million a year, according to airline data firm OAG.
The London Heathrow-Dubai route alone was the fourth busiest route in the world and attracted 3.4 million passengers in 2017, said RoutesOnline figures.
Clark said the UK market overall been growing in recent years at around six percent annually.
In the video interview with Flight Global, Clark said there had been consistent growth in Emirate’s UK capacity, profits and points served over recent years.
In July, Emirates added a second service to London Stansted – a route it says is operating at a load factor of 95 percent.
Heathrow, with its six A380s per day service, is also securing a load factor above 90 percent, as is Gatwick.
Clark described the UK as a ‘hugely potent route’, saying that out of more than 160 points it flies to, London is the most popular destination.
The president noted that airports in the UK have been doing much to improve infrastructure and boost capacity to attract more airlines.
“Going forward, we are looking at Heathrow and how the infrastructure is developed over five to ten years. All of the airports are going to have to do quite a lot because rising demand for the UK. The more they can do, the more the airlines will come,” Clark said.
The president said he doesn’t see Britain’s current political difficulties having a significant impact on the aviation market.
“The idea that if we are leave the EU there will be a collapse in UK demand… the evidence suggest otherwise,” he said.
Emirates has been flying into the UK since 1987, when a deal was struck to begin service to London’s Gatwick Airport.
In 1990, the airline added Manchester to its network and in 1991 the airline finally secured a slot at London Heathrow.
Today, Emirates flies to eight airports in the UK; Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle.