Emirates has managed to acquire ten additional weekly slots at capacity-constrained Heathrow Airport, allowing it to operate up to seven flights per day from Dubai to London during the busy winter season.
The additional slots have been leased from Cathay Pacific to the Dubai-based carrier, giving Emirates the right to operate five additional arrivals and departures per week between 31st October 2023 and 30th March 2024.
Heathrow Airport operates at near 100% capacity and, as a result, all departures and arrivals are ‘slot’ controlled – airlines are awarded a timed ‘slot’ for a departure and arrival, although new slots rarely become available.
In 2016, Oman Air paid a reported $75 million for just one premium slot pair, which afforded the Muscat-based carrier the rights to land and take off at the West London airport during the peak and much sought-after early morning period.
But when permanent slots aren’t available, airlines can sometimes temporarily lease slots off another carrier that owns the rights to a slot that they aren’t currently using.
That’s exactly how Emirates has acquired the rights to 10 additional slots from Cathay Pacific.
The additional flights will operate on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, with the flight arriving from Dubai at 5:20 pm and departing Heathrow at 8:15 pm.
Emirates currently operates six flights per day on its flagship Airbus A380 superjumbo but the seventh service will be operated by a Boeing 777-300 in a three-class configuration that doesn’t include Premium Economy.
Even without the additional flight, Emirates is already operating more than 126 weekly flights to the United Kingdom, which include:
- Six daily Airbus A380 flights to London Heathrow
- Three daily Airbus A380 flights to London Gatwick
- Twice daily Boeing 777 service to London Stansted
- Three daily Airbus A380 service to Manchester
- Twice daily service to Birmingham – one of which is an A380
- Once daily Boeing 777 service to Newcastle
- One daily Airbus A380 service to Glasgow
The United Kingdom is one of Emirates’ most important markets and the airline expects a surge in demand during the winter season from travellers looking to escape the cold for sun and warmth in Dubai.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.