London Stansted has announced a significant step in its long-haul ambitions with the launch of a new daily Emirates service to Dubai starting next year.
It marks the first time the airport has secured a route to one of the Middle Eastern hubs.
Emirates will have 10 daily flights between Dubai and three London airports with the introduction of the new service on 8 June 2018.
Laurie Berryman, Emirates vice president UK, said the development will be "welcome news" to firms based in the Stansted catchment area "who, before now, travelled to central London to fly to airports with global reach".
He also gave a nod to the strong startup community in Cambridge, forming "a growing section" of the city's businesses.
Ken O'Toole, London Stansted's chief executive, said:
We’re delighted that Emirates has recognised the strength of London Stansted’s catchment and the opportunity that our available runway capacity gives them to continue growing in the south east of England over the next decade.
At this crucial time, the new Emirates services will provide an important boost to the UK economy by strengthening international connectivity and offering greater choice and convenience for passengers travelling to long haul destinations.
The Stansted launch also marks the seventh UK airport that Emirates will operate out of the UK, joining Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester and Glasgow.
The airline is using Boeing 777s with First, Business and Economy Class seating - including fully enclosed private suites in First Class, with Stansted forecasting the route to be equally popular with both business and leisure passengers.
Here's how Emirates' new First Class cabins look:
Amid the tussle between Heathrow and Gatwick over airport expansion in the south east, with the larger airport getting the go-ahead from government last October, Stansted has been quietly plugging investment into its own expansion.
In April, it got the green light for its new £130m arrivals terminal, and earlier this month announced it had developed its own tech arm to help improve customer experience and fight off competition from encroaching travel startups.