ONE of the world’s most prominent airlines has reiterated its commitment to the North-East ahead of a milestone in the region.

Emirates, which operates flights from Newcastle Airport to Dubai, says its services are continuing to flourish.

The firm told The Northern Echo it has seen growth increase by 11 per cent rise in 2014, and is benefiting from more passengers choosing its flights.

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The company launched the daily long-haul services in September 2007, and will celebrate its seventh anniversary in the North-East next week.

In December last year, it also marked the one millionth passenger to fly from Newcastle to Dubai.

Laurie Berryman, Emirates vice-president UK, said the North-East was very important to the business, emphasised by its decision two years ago to introduce a 428-seat Boeing 777-300ER on its daily flights to increase capacity.

He said: “We have been in the North-East for seven years and we are here to stay.

“We thank the people of the region for flying with us and look forward to continuing that relationship.

“The North-East is a very important part of the UK.

“The geography means that it’s a long way to get to Manchester and Glasgow, where we also fly from, and we have a good mix of leisure and business travellers.”

Mr Berryman said the company, which also sponsors Durham County Cricket Club, was seeing a rise in passenger numbers, as the industry benefits from more people looking to take holidays.

He said: “There is certainly a revival.

“It’s not back to the days of 2006, but we have seen more people get away for the summer.”

Last year, Emirates surprised travellers Sheila and Peter Laverick with an upgrade to Business Class to Dubai after they were announced as the firm’s one million passenger.

The couple were flying to New Zealand, via Sydney, to spend Christmas with their daughter, son-in-law and grandson.

Mr Berryman added: “The fact we reached one million passengers out of Newcastle is an indication of our commitment to the North-East and the amazing popularity of our service.”

Dave Laws, Newcastle International Airport’s chief executive, previously praised Emirates’ impact in the region.

He added: “The route is more popular than ever with travellers and passengers have been travelling across the globe.

“But alongside its popularity with passengers, the Emirates service also offers significant benefits to the regional economy.

“In 2013, the service transported North-East exports with a value of over £250m worldwide.”