Emirates was formed on October 25 1985 when the Government of Dubai provided $10
Million in initial start up capital for the carrier via the Investment Corporation
of Dubai. The airline remains Government owned and has been self-
Initially the airline operated just two aircraft, a Boeing 737-
Emirates cancelled its commitment for the Airbus A340-
As new aircraft were delivered new routes to Banglaore, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram whilst Kuala Lumpur received a direct service having previously been flown via Dhaka.
Another huge order placed at the 2007 Dubai Air Show called for 120 Airbus A350XWBs,
eleven Airbus A380s and a further twelve Boeing 777-
The first of ten Boeing 777-
Emirates became the second airline in the world to operate the Airbus A380 in 2008
In October 2008 all Emirates operations at Dubai moved to the new Terminal Three. This allowed for more efficient connections for the airlines huge transfer passenger operation. The Sao Paolo service went daily this year and new routes were added to Cape Town, Guangzhou and Kozhikode. Meanwhile Milan and Rome were separated so that each city received its own daily flight.
Emirates officially became the world’s largest Boeing 777 operator when it took delivery
of its seventy-
On 20 March 2009 Airbus A340-
On June 19 2009 the aircraft departed Melbourne for an unpressurised flight at a
maximum of 10,000 feet routing Melbourne -
An additional thirty 777-
The expansion continued at the 2011 Dubai Air Show with a firm order placed for fifty
more Boeing 777-
The first of an eventual twenty nine Airbus A330-
The dawning of the new Millennium saw Emirates step up its expansion with an order
for twenty five Boeing 777-
New destinations added in 2002 included Casablanca, Khartoum, Mauritius, Osaka, Perth and Zurich.
At the 2003 Paris Air Show Emirates announced what at that time was the largest order
in airline history when it placed orders for twenty three A380s, two Airbus A340-
Starting in 2003 Emirates launched its ICE (Information Communication Entertainment) in flight entertainment system providing audio and video on demand.
This system was first featured on the first of ten new Airbus A340-
As well as the ICE system the Airbus A340-
Despite these orders expansion was still quicker than the manufacturers could cope
with and so a deal was struck with Boeing for the lease of eight Airbus A340-
However less than two months after entering service with Emirates Airbus A340-
The next mega-
Freighters were on the agenda at the 2006 Farnborough Air Show when Emirates signed
for ten Boeing 747-
Emirates first route was from Dubai to Karachi, followed by Mumbai and Delhi and 260,000 passengers were carried in the first year. In 1986 further flights were added to Amman, Cairo, Colombo and Dhaka.
Although the Boeing 737 returned to Pakistan International Airlines in 1986 further narrowbody capacity was added in 1987 when a second Boeing 727 was purchased from the Dubai Government.
The A300 was temporarily replaced by a second example from Kuwait Airlines but reinforcements
arrived in 1987 in the form of two new build Airbus A310s. The airline’s first route
to Europe commenced on 6 July 1987 when it commenced non stop flights to London Gatwick
and a Dubai -
The airline began to push towards Asia in 1989 with services launched to Bangkok, Manila and Singapore.
In it’s first ten years the airline expanded the fleet to six Airbus A300s and eight Airbus A310s and built the network up to cover 37 destinations in 30 countries. At this time it was the sixth largest airline in the Middle East.
In 1992 Emirates launched personal TVs at all seats with First Class passengers being provided with individual video players. All aircraft in the fleet were so equipped by 1993.
The airline’s love affair with the Boeing 777 commenced in 1996 when the first of
three “A” market 777-
In 1998 Emirates made its first and only foray into making investments in other airlines taking a 43.6% stake in Sri Lankan Airlines for $70 Million. This deal included a 10 year contract for Emirates to manage Sri Lankan. This shareholding was sold back to the Sri Lankan Government in 2010 for around $150 Million.
1998 also saw Emirates Sky Cargo launched. Although the company had always provided
a cargo service using capacity within its passenger aircraft this was now expanded
with an Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance lease agreed with Atlas Air initially
for a single Boeing 747-