The History of Emirates Airlines: From Start-Up to One of the World's Largest Airlines

Airlines2 years ago
Emirates Airplane Landing

In just a few short decades, Emirates Airlines has become one of the world's largest and most successful airlines. What started as a small start-up in 1985 has turned into a multi-billion dollar company with a fleet of over 250 aircraft. This article will take a look at the history of Emirates Airlines, from its humble beginnings to its current status as one of the leading carriers in the world.


The Beginning

Emirates Airlines was founded in 1985 by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who is also the current Chairman and Chief Executive of the airline. At the time, Dubai was a relatively unknown city, and not many people outside of the region had heard of it. Sheikh Ahmed saw an opportunity to put Dubai on the map by starting an airline that could connect the city with the rest of the world. With just two aircraft, Emirates took to the skies for its first flight in October 1985.

The early days of Emirates were not without challenges. The airline faced stiff competition from established carriers in the region, such as British Airways and Gulf Air. In addition, there was skepticism from many people about whether a start-up airline from a relatively unknown city could succeed.

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The 1990s

Despite these challenges, Emirates persevered and slowly but surely started building its reputation. The airline began to expand its route network, and by the early 1990s, it was serving 22 destinations across the globe. In 1993, Emirates made history by becoming the first airline to fly non-stop from Dubai to New York City. This was a significant achievement as it showed that Emirates was now capable of flying long-distance routes and competing with the world's major airlines.

The 1990s were a decade of growth for Emirates. The airline continued to expand its fleet and route network, and by 1999, operating over 100 flights per day. This was also the year that Emirates launched its first loyalty program, called Skywards.


The 2000s

The new millennium brought even more success for Emirates. In 2003, the airline was named "Airline of the Year" by Aviation Week magazine. This was a major coup for Emirates and put it on the map as a truly world-class airline.

The following year, Emirates made another significant milestone by becoming the first airline to order the superjumbo Airbus A380 aircraft. This showed that Emirates was not only committed to expanding its fleet but also to investing in the latest and greatest technology.

In 2008, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum announced that Emirates would be opening a second hub in Dubai. This new hub, called Dubai World Central, would be able to handle up to 160 million passengers per year.



Emirates is now one of the world's leading airlines. It has a modern fleet of over 250 aircraft and flies to over 140 destinations across six continents. The airline has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1985, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Today, the company, worth nearly 200 billion dollars, employs upwards of 105,000 employees. In other words, one out of every thousand people in Dubai works for Emirates Airlines.

The airline is known for its luxury product and excellent customer service. In 2019, Emirates was once again named "Airline of the Year" by Aviation Week magazine. This is a testament to the airline's continued commitment to excellence.


What Does the Future Hold for Emirates?

The future looks bright for Emirates. The airline has continued to grow and expand despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Coming up on 40 years of service, Emirates shows no signs of slowing down and is poised to continue its tradition of excellence for many years to come.

Known for its modern fleet of aircraft and luxurious product, Emirates is one of the world's leading airlines. Because of the gap they have filled in the aviation industry, Emirates has become a major player on the global stage. There is no doubt that this airline is here to stay and will continue to be a force in the aviation industry for years to come.


Final Thoughts

Emirates has come a long way since it was founded in 1985. What started as a small start-up airline has now grown into one of the world's largest and most successful airlines. Emirates has been able to achieve this success by offering a luxurious product and excellent customer service. The future looks bright for Emirates, and with its insane growth since its founding, saying Emirates will continue to strive would be a safe bet.

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