Emirates made history as it brought an Airbus A380 to Gatwick Airport – the first ever scheduled A380 flight to the airport – to mark its 25th UK anniversary.

The 517-seater aircraft, which is the world’s largest commercial airliner, was operating a special service on the airline’s lunchtime flights to Dubai and from Dubai, giving passengers travelling from Gatwick a one-off opportunity to experience its luxurious onboard amenities.

These include Private Suites and Onboard Shower Spas in First Class, flat beds in Business Class, an Onboard Lounge for First Class and Business Class customers, and more generous seats and wider aisles in Economy Class. Passengers throughout the aircraft can enjoy the airline’s award-winning ice entertainment system, with over 1,300 channels of on-demand entertainment.

Emirates started its UK operation on 6th July 1987 with a daily service from London Gatwick flights to Dubai. Today, the airline offers 16 daily flights from six UK airports – with three daily services from Gatwick alone – to Dubai and beyond to a network of over 120 destinations worldwide.

“Since 1987, Gatwick has been at the heart of our UK operation and we are proud to see our A380 touch down here today,” said Laurie Berryman, Vice President UK. “When this special anniversary service departed for Dubai this afternoon, it did so with over 500 passengers on board.”

“Given the popularity of the aircraft with passengers from the South East, it is our hope that Gatwick will join Emirates’ A380 network in the future,” he added.

“Today’s arrival of a scheduled Emirates A380 flight from Dubai was an historical and special moment for Gatwick.” said Guy Stephenson, Gatwick Airport’s Chief Commercial Officer. “It is the very first time that Gatwick has welcomed a scheduled A380 flight – a huge achievement for the airport.

“This flight arrives at a time when Gatwick is investing in its A380 pier infrastructure, allowing us to pier serve the aircraft from next summer.

“The A380 is rapidly becoming the aircraft of choice to serve major long haul trunk routes. We want Gatwick to be playing its part in this exciting new era of long-haul travel and helping to increase connectivity to key markets.”

Emirates has 21 A380 aircraft in its fleet with a further 69 on order, serving an ever expanding network of destinations including Sydney, Auckland, flights to Bangkok, Seoul, flights to Hong Kong, Shanghai, flights to Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and from 1st October, Melbourne. The airline has just announced Adelaide as its fifth gateway into Australia from 1st November.