Dubai’s national airline Emirates was founded in 1985. The airline is headquartered at Emirates Group Headquarters, Airport Road, Garhoud, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the Middle East’s largest airline operating more than 2,400 passenger flights every week from Dubai International Airport to 105 cities in 62 countries across six continents. Emirates functions three of world’s longest non-stop commercial flights from Dubai to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston. The airline is owned by Government of Dubai and employ over 50,000 people.

Emirates is one of only nine airlines to run an all-wide-body aircraft fleet. It is the second operator of the Airbus A380-800 following Singapore Airlines with the first aircraft delivery on 28 July 2008. It is an industry bellwether for aircraft purchases, with more than 130 aircrafts in 2007 alone.

Emirates was open to operation in 1985, when Gulf Air began to cut back its services to Dubai providing only regional feeder flights for other carriers. Initially, Emirates leased a new Boeing 737-300 and an Airbus 300B4-200 from Pakistan International Airlines. Emirates’ first flight EK600 was from Dubai to Karachi on 25 October 1985. Later, in the same year, Emirates launched flights to Bombay and New Delhi.

Maurice Flanagan was appointed CEO of Emirates. The current chairman is Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and Sir Maurice Flanagan is the carrier’s executive vice-chairman. Tim Clark is the current president of Emirates.

Emirates developed fast that it carried about 260,000 passengers and 10,000 tons of freight in its first year. In 1986, Emirates flights were operated to Colombo, Dhaka, Amman and Cairo. The airline first bought its aircraft on 3 July, 1986. It expanded its operation in the Far East with flights to Bangkok, Manila, Hong Kong and Singapore in 1991.

From 1990, Emirates emerged as one of world’s fastest growing airlines. Due to the Gulf War, the Emirates operations were increased and its passenger count to Dubai International Airport increased to three million in 1990.

Emirates has all versions of the Boeing 777 and is the largest operator of the aircraft. Emirates partnered with US Airways and started offering round-the-world services from 1993. In 1994, Emirates became the sixth largest airline in the Middle East connecting 32 destinations.

Emirates contracted SriLankan Airlines for 43.6% stake in 1998 till April 2008. In 2010, the deal between the two Airlines was closed.

From 2000, Emirates expanded its operation with numerous aircrafts delivery to different regions. Spending high budgets, Emirates acquired many aircrafts. The airline delivered its 78th plane in 2010.


First Class
2 types of seating: the full suite and the regular first class seating are offered in First Class. On all A380-800, A340-500, B777-200LR aircraft, as well as 27 of 39 3-class B777-300ER aircraft, private seats are available. The remaining 12 Boeing 777-300ERs, Boeing 777-200s and Boeing 777-300s have regular seating. The entire upper deck of A380-800 aircraft has premium first class seating.

Business Class
60 in to 79 in long, angled lie-flat beds seating is available for business class on B777-200LRs, B777-300s and 29 of 39 3-class B777-300ERs as well as 5 of 14 2-class B777-300ERs. Massage function, privacy partition, in-seat power supply, USB Ports and an RCA socket for laptop connection, over 600 channels of entertainment on ICE are some of the facilities that passengers enjoy.

Deeply reclining sleeper seats are available on all the A340-500s. The B777-200s and B777-300ERs have the same seats but, they almost lie-flat. Airbus A330 aircraft and A340-300s have standard recliners and a leg rest and seat back screen. The seats recline to form a fully flat bed on Airbus A380-800 aircraft, and personal mini-bars are available.

Economy class
The seat is 32–34 inch with standard seat width (except on the Boeing 777 fleet). Emirates has 3-4-3, seating configuration on its 777 fleet.

Emirates was the first airline to introduce a personal entertainment system on a commercial aircraft. Currently, 70% of the fleet has the ice in-flight entertainment and 100% fleets are expected to have this entertainment. ICE (Information, Communication, Entertainment) is the entertainment system offered by Emirates.

The information system is based on the 3000i system from Panasonic Avionics Corporation. Passengers have direct link to BBC News. Passengers can view exterior cameras during takeoff and landing. Emirates offers live international television broadcasts and high-speed, in-flight Internet service with the Inmarsat’s satellite system.

Passengers can access, send or receive emails for US $1 per message using link in-flight mail server. Seat-to-seat chat service is also available along with mobile use in flights.

Entertainment includes movies, music and video games. Passengers can access the ICE system in 10 different languages. As of mid 2007, Emirates features docking capability for Apple Inc.’s iPod portable music and video player.

Skywards is the frequent flyer programme offered by Emirates. Over 5.72 million customers use this and is a four tier programme. Three primary tiers include Blue, Silver (25,000 tier miles for entry) and Gold (50,000 tier miles for entry).


* One of top 10 carriers worldwide in terms of revenue and passenger kilometres
* As of 2007, largest airline in the Middle East in terms of revenue, fleet size and passengers
* Sixth largest airline in terms of international passengers
* Seventh largest airline in terms of scheduled freight tonne-kilometres flown
* Voted eighth best airline by Skytrax
* Cargo Airline of the Year – 26th Cargo Airline of the Year Awards
* Airline of the Year 2001, 2002 by Skytrax
* Best in-flight-entertainment from Skytrax in 2003