Emirates, one of the world's fastest growing airlines, will add more than 2,000 seats a week to and from Newcastle when it introduces a larger aircraft on its daily flight to Dubai from 1st September.
A 428-seat Boeing 777-300ER, the longest aircraft to ever operate from Newcastle, will replace a 278-seat Airbus A330-200 on the route - a capacity increase of more than 50 per cent.
The upgrade comes on the fifth anniversary of the route's launch. Since 1st September, 2007, almost 700,000 passengers have travelled with Emirates to and from the North East.
"Our Newcastle service has come of age and with demand continuing to increase, this is the right time for Emirates to be expanding its capacity from the North East," said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates' Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation. "With the introduction of this larger aircraft, we will offer almost 6,000 seats every week to and from Newcastle. Since we commenced services, more than 175,000 overseas passengers have travelled with Emirates to Newcastle from across our global network, boosting tourism and business in the North East," Mr Obaidalla added.
Emirates' key destinations for North East travellers include Dubai, Bangkok, Sydney, Perth, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Mauritius.
The Boeing 777-300ER is the backbone of the Emirates fleet, with 65 in service and a further 86 on order. The airline will offer a two-class configuration with a choice of 42 lie-flat beds in Business Class and 386 seat in Economy Class. Throughout the aircraft, passengers will be able to experience the airline's award-winning ice in-flight entertainment system with a choice of over 600 channels on-demand.
Since the route was launched, Emirates has carried more than 10 million kilos of cargo on its Newcastle service, helping companies across the region to export their goods across the globe.
Popular commodities being shipped include oil rig equipment, car parts, personal effects and pharmaceuticals. The arrival of the larger aircraft will mean an increase in cargo carrying capacity of some 22% to over 16,000 kilos per flight.
Dave Laws, the airport's chief executive, said: "This is a very significant announcement for Newcastle International. We are absolutely delighted Emirates will begin operating a larger Boeing 777-300ER from the airport on its fifth anniversary year at the airport.
"Despite challenging economic times, the daily service to Dubai has flourished. The growth of this global brand at the airport will bring employment opportunities and increased cargo carrying capabilities. This in turn will bring economic benefit, trade and investment to the region.
"It's very much a sign of confidence in both the North East and in the airport. Delivering access to Dubai and beyond onto a global network has had an incredibly positive impact on the business community. It has improved access to markets as well as import and export operations. Since Emirates began operating from Newcastle Airport, trade from the North East to Australasia has increased by more than 65%," he added.
"The airport currently employs approximately 3,000 people onsite and a further 5,000 from across the North East. This investment and growth from Emirates is testament to the successful partnership with our seven Local Authority shareholders and business stakeholders in the region."
Emirates daily service departs Dubai at 0720hrs arriving in Newcastle at 1205hrs. The return flight departs Newcastle at 1335hrs arriving into Dubai at midnight. (summer timings)