Emirates airline has come a long way in the last 30 years. Launched in October 1985 with first flights to Karachi and Mumbai, Emirates is now one of the world's biggest international carriers, flying to more than 140 destinations around the globe. The transition from a regional airline that started off with a leased Boeing 737 and an Airbus 300 B4 to a global behemoth in terms of revenue has been truly spectacular. Three decades on, Emirates has grown in both scale and stature. It is now the largest airline in the Middle East in terms of revenue, fleet size and passengers carried.
Subsidiary of the Emirates Group, which is wholly owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai, Emirates operates over 1,500 flights per week from Dubai International Airport. With a fleet of more than 230 aircraft, it currently flies to more than 80 countries. As one of the most profitable airlines in the world, it announced its 27th consecutive year of profit earlier this year. Continuing to expand its global footprint and strengthen its business through strategic investments, the Emirates Group recorded its second highest profit of Dh5.5 billion. And it doesn't end there.
Providing highest standards of quality, Emirates' growth story has been closely followed in the aviation sector. The airlines created history in 2007 by announcing a historic civil aviation aircraft order for 120 Airbus A350s, 11 A380s, and 12 Boeing 777-300ERs, worth an estimated $34.9 billion at the Dubai Airshow. Three years later, in line with the airline's strategic growth plan, Emirates significantly hiked its orders for new aircraft. During the Berlin Airshow, Emirates announced an order for 32 Airbus A380s. Subsequently at the Farnborough Airshow, 30 more Boeing 777-300ERs were added to the list, taking the combined value to a whopping $13.4 billion.
As its fleet began to modernise and expand, Emirates decided to spread its wings further. The airline operates four of the world's longest non-stop commercial flights from Dubai to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Houston. A new daily 16-hour direct flight to Orlando commenced last month. The new route is the airline's 10th to the US, further boosting trade and cultural exchange between the two countries. More routes are being added in the months ahead. Emirates plans to launch the longest non-stop commercial flight in the world from Dubai to Panama City in February 2016.
In its endeavour to develop Dubai into a comprehensive and long haul aviation hub, Emirates has continuously led from the front. During the financial year 2013/2014, Emirates carried 44.5 million passengers and 2.25 million tonnes of cargo. Last month alone, the airlines saw 300,000 passengers travel out of the UAE during the Eid period, as travellers headed home or abroad for short holidays. More than 76,000 customers travelled on a single day - September 18 - with Emirates, according to the airline's booking figures. The overall figure represented a staggering 65 per cent growth from last year.
Ranked among the top firms that place a huge value on corporate citizenship and social responsibility, Emirates sharply focuses on key issues like environment. The airline is actively involved with the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, a 225-square-kilometre natural reserve, in an effort to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the area. The development of the National Park is another remarkable step taken by Emirates to protect the local ecosystem. Away from home, Emirates has created one of the world's most eco-friendly conservation-based destinations in Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa, Australia.
Looking back at its achievements Emirates has become a brand that inspires awe. With a strong and stable leadership team, the airline is recognised around the world for its innovation, quality travel experience and various tourism services it offers. Employing more than 62,000 people across 50 business units and associated firms, it is one of the biggest employers in the region. More importantly Emirates has become an icon - one that is instantly recognised with brand Dubai.
By Sadiq Shaban
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