Emirates will fly the world’s largest passenger plane on its Glasgow-Dubai route, the airline’s UK chief has predicted.
The 517-seat Airbus A380 would mark a further expansion of the service, which is carrying four times as many passengers as when it was launched 12 years ago.
Emirates vice-president UK Laurie Berryman said: “I think it’s a question of when rather than if.”
He expected a double-deck aircraft on the route to come before a third daily flight.
He said: “I think the A380 is more likely, but I could not put a timescale on it. It’s a game changer and always drives traffic.”
Mr Berryman said the route was continuing to grow despite the turmoil following terrorist attacks and the Brexit vote, and two other Middle East airlines launching flights to their hubs from Edinburgh.
Emirates carried 410,000 passengers on its twice-daily flights from Glasgow in the year to March – more than four times more than 2004-05.
The airline has since added a second flight and put on larger planes – 360-seat Boeing 777s.
In 2013, Mr Berryman had predicted either the A380 or a third flight on the Glasgow route by 2017. One of the superjumbos visited Glasgow two years ago for a one-off visit to mark the route’s tenth anniversary. Mr Berryman said the airport would need to install a second air bridge walkway for passengers and make taxiway improvements for regular flights.
Emirates already operates the giant aircraft from Heathrow, Gatwick. Manchester and Birmingham.
Three in four passengers from Glasgow travel on from the airline’s Dubai hub to places such as Australia, Thailand and Mauritius.
Bangkok is the most popular single destination from Glasgow and the Thai island of Phuket the fastest growing.
A Glasgow Airport spokesman said: “We would welcome any added capacity on the route in due course.
“If Emirates decided to operate the A380 out of Glasgow, then of course we’d look at making the necessary upgrades.”