Staff Report

The story of Emirates whose success is intertwined with the rapid development of Dubai could be nothing but fascinating. Against a backdrop of regional unrest and volatile global economies, progress has been maintained at a rapid pace in every year of Emirates’ and Dnata’s existence. The following is a timeline of the airline’s history.

* Emirates' expanding A380 fleet is generating interest from airports across the world. A further order for 32 A380s, announced during the Berlin Air Show, has prompted a flurry of enquiries. * Image Credit: Supplied picture
* Emirates' expanding A380 fleet is generating interest from airports across the world. A further order for 32 A380s, announced during the Berlin Air Show, has prompted a flurry of enquiries. * Image Credit: Supplied picture


  • Emirates tops up A380 orderbook of 58 by placing 32 more to 90.
  • Emirates announces 247 per cent jump in net profits to Dh4.2 billion for 1009-2010 financial year
  • The airline places order for 30 Boeing 777s, worth $9.1 billion at the Farnborough Airshow in July.


  • Emirates begins flying the Airbus A380 on the Sydney, Auckland, Bangkok, Toronto and Seoul routes.
  • Emirates becomes the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 777 with the delivery of the 78th plane.


  • The company moves into the new multimillion dollar Emirates Group headquarters.
  • Emirates’ dedicated Terminal 3 opens in October and within a month 500,000 passengers pass through it.


  • Emirates signs contracts for 120 Airbus A350s, 11 A380s and 12 Boeing 777-330ERs, worth an estimated $34.9 billion (Dh128.16 billion), at the Dubai Air Show.
  • The addition of Sao Paulo to the network represents the first non-stop flight between the Middle East and South America.


  • Emirates signs an agreement for 10 Boeing 747-8F freighters in a deal worth $3.3 billion.


  • Emirates Group workforce totals 25,000 people from 124 countries, making it Dubai’s biggest employer.
  • Emirates orders 42 Boeing 777s in a deal worth $9.7 billion, the largest Boeing 777 order in history.


  • Emirates orders four Boeing 777-300ERs, with nine options, in a $2.96 billion deal.
  • Emirates makes its first flight to North America – a non-stop 14-hour flight to New York’s JFK Airport. This marked the first non-stop passenger service from the Middle East to North America.


  • CAE and Emirates join forces to open the $100 million Emirates-CAE flight simulator.
  • Emirates places $19.1 billion worth of orders for 71 aircraft.
  • Emirates expands service on Dubai-Sydney route with the first A340-500 joining the fleet.


  • Four million passengers vote in the Skytrax internet poll and Emirates is again named Airline of the Year.
  • Global passenger levels drop by four per cent but Emirates figures rise 18.3 per cent to 6.8 million.


  • Emirates signs £24 million deal to sponsor English Premiership football club Chelsea for four years.
  • In a survey of 2.7 million airline passengers by Skytrax Research, Emirates is voted Airline of the Year.


  • The Shaikh Rashid Terminal opens, increasing the capacity at Dubai International Airport to 22 million passengers a year.
  • Frequent flyer loyalty programme Emirates Skywards is launched.
  • Dubai Government announces an investment of $500 to $600 million
  • in the new Terminal 3 with a capacity of 20 million passengers a year.


  • The first of 17 new-generation Airbus A330-200s arrive in Dubai.
  • Emirates Group’s workforce totals 11,000.
  • Passenger traffic through Dubai International Airport hits 11 million.


  • Emirates is voted Best Airline in the World at the prestigious OAG Awards.
  • The $540 million Terminal 2 is opened at Dubai International.


  • Emirates makes a $2 billion order for 16 Airbus A330-200s.
  • Airline defies high fuel prices to again post record profits as passenger figures top three million and cargo hits 150,000 tonnes.


  • Airline takes delivery of its first Boeing 777-200 and becomes the first airline to show take-offs and landings live. Its maiden flight to London is followed by Emirates’ inaugural flight to Melbourne.


  • As the airline celebrates its tenth birthday, it has a fleet flying to 34 locations in the Middle East, Far East and Europe.


  • Emirates is the first airline to equip an Airbus fleet with an inflight fax facility.


  • Emirates becomes the first airline to introduce telecommunications on an Airbus in all three classes.


  • Emirates becomes the first airline to install video systems in all seats in all classes throughout its fleet.
  • A $2 million terminal exclusive to Emirates is opened at Dubai International.
  • Emirates becomes first airline to order a $20 million Airbus full-flight simulator.


  • On January 17, Emirates grounds its fleet for several hours as the battle to liberate Kuwait begins. Operations resume and Emirates maintains 90 per cent of its normal services during the first month of the conflict.


  • Emirates bucks the industry trend and continues to expand despite the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and adds Manchester to its schedule.


  • Flights are added to Singapore, Manila and Bangkok.


  • Damascus is added to the Emirates route network, giving it 12 destinations in just 38 months of business.


  • Deals are struck to fly to London’s Gatwick Airport as well as Istanbul, Frankfurt and Male, the capital of the Maldives.
  • On July 3, A6-EKA flies from Toulouse to Dubai as Emirates takes delivery of its first bought aircraft.
  • The Airbus A310-304 is designed to Emirates specifications, giving the airline the opportunity to fully implement its commitment to offering a superior flying experience than its rivals.


  • The network grows with traffic rights acquired into Amman, Colombo, Cairo and Dhaka.
  • Investment in infrastructure and expansion costs see Emirates posting losses for what would be the only time in its history.


  • Maurice Flanagan embarks on ambitious mission to launch an airline with $10 million in five months.
  • Shaikh Ahmad and future president Tim Clark join Flanagan’s team.
  • Pakistan International Airlines agrees to wet-lease Emirates two aircraft.
  • Deals are struck to fly to Karachi, New Delhi and Mumbai.
  • A PR disaster is thwarted by recruiting 80 Emirates staff to travel incognito to disguise the dismal sales of tickets on the maiden flight.
  • On October 25 flight EK600 departs Dubai International for Karachi.


  • His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Flanagan discuss launching an airline in Dubai.
  • Maurice Flanagan is among a 10-man team that produces a business plan for the new airline – to be named either Dubai Airlines or Emirates airline.


  • Maurice Flanagan moves to Dubai to become director and general manager of Dnata.


  • Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum opens the airport and implements innovative open-skies policy.


  • Dnata is established by the Dubai Government with just five staff to provide ground handling services at the new Dubai International Airport.