Emirates offers to fly cars to Dubai on new Edinburgh service
It would provide the ultimate fly drive holiday. Emirates is offering to transport passengers’ cars with them when the airline launches flights from Edinburgh on Monday.
The airline’s unique service in Scotland has already seen vehicles flown to Dubai and onwards via its Glasgow route.
Emirates is expected to attract well-heeled passengers to and from the capital by providing its first regular first-class cabins. They will need to be to ship a car because it will cost as much as buying a business class ticket for the route – around £3,000.
Cars flown from Glasgow include an Aston Martin Cygnet bound for Cyprus as a birthday present in 2013.
It was followed by two Mini Coopers sent to the Middle East for a scientific project.
However, space restrictions aboard the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft that will operate between Edinburgh and Dubai mean only small cars can be accommodated.
Aviation sources said larger cars were usually flown in and out of Scotland on dedicated cargo aircraft from Prestwick in Ayrshire.
Richard Jewsbury, Emirates’ divisional vice-president for the UK, said: “We believe we are the only airline offering this service at Glasgow and Edinburgh airports.
“Transporting cars is a specialised process and is something that we do out of our Glasgow gateway on an ad hoc basis.
“Customers have transported cars through our Glasgow gateway for personal reasons, such as birthday gifts purchased by those visiting the country, as well as for business purposes.
“Through our Dubai hub, we have the capability to transport cars from Scotland all over our global network, with recent vehicles travelling as far as South Africa and Cyprus.
“While it’s too early to know the ebbs and flow of goods being transported on our Edinburgh route yet, this is certainly an area we would like to grow across all our UK gateways.
“A general cost comparison would be the price of a business class ticket booked on a similar route.”
A Scottish aviation source who specialises in cargo said carrying goods on passenger aircraft was the norm.
He said: “About 80 per cent is carried as ‘belly freight’ – in the normal aircraft holds.
“From Scotland it can be fish, whisky – anything that fits.”
However, he said only some cars could be accommodated on passenger planes such as the Boeing 777.
He said: “If it’s a tiny car, you would get it on board, but of a very restricted size.”
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “This is an exciting opportunity and we’ll certainly be keen to work with Emirates should they wish to utilise this capability on its Edinburgh service.”
Mark Johnston, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “Since Emirates launched its Glasgow to Dubai service in 2004, it has gone on to fly millions of Scottish passengers across the globe.
“People may be surprised to learn Emirates has also welcomed a number of vehicles on board, including the iconic Aston Martin.
“It’s not every day we have an Aston Martin check-in for a flight, however, it simply highlights it’s not just passengers who opt to fly in style on Emirates’ Glasgow service.”
Meantime, Mr Jewsbury insisted the Edinburgh route would not hold back growth of Emirates twice-daily flights from Glasgow.
The airline has already reduced its Edinburgh service from daily to five days a week for much of this winter.