Published April 5th, 2006 - 11:18 GMT

Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing international airlines, received Airfinance Journal’s Middle East Airport Finance Deal of the Year award for its maiden $550 million Islamic ‘sukuk’ bond issued in June 2005.
The seven-year tenor bond received subscriptions of $824 million surpassing an initial target of $550 million by nearly 50 percent and attracted wide investor participation from Europe as well as the Far East.
The money raised from the bond will be used to finance the new Emirates Engineering Center in Dubai. This is the first-ever Islamic ‘sukuk’ issue by an airline and the first sukuk with a term of seven years, with the principal proceeds being paid on maturity.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Makhtoum, Chairman of Emirates, said, “We are extremely pleased with the interest this bond produced in the market place and we believe it is testament to Emirates’ strong financial position and standing in the world market that so many banks and institutions subscribed for this opportunity.”
The awards ceremony, which took place on Monday, April 3 at New York’s famed Rainbow Room, was attended by Saeed Quadri, Emirates Treasury Risk Manager, who accepted the award on behalf of Emirates.
Saeed Quadri said, “It’s an honor to receive the Middle East Airport Deal of the Year award. Emirates is pleased to be recognized for its efforts and we are gratified by the investors’ response to our first sukuk offer.”

About Emirates

Since its launch in 1985, Emirates Airline has received more than 280 international awards in recognition of its efforts to provide unsurpassed levels of customer service.

The airline has experienced rapid and consistent growth, above 20 per cent a year on average and has been profitable for the last 17 years. Financially self-sustained and unprotected, Emirates carried 12.5 million passengers in the 2004-05 financial year – 2.1 million more than the year before - and declared a record $637 million profit, an increase of 49 per cent over the previous year, on revenue of $4.9 billion – $1.3 billion more, or 36 per cent better than the year before.

Emirates is the world’s second most profitable and among the fastest-growing and 20 largest international airlines. It is based in Dubai, one of the few cities in the world that pursues an open-skies policy, with more than 110 airlines in free and fair competition.

Its 88 all wide-bodied fleet includes eight freighters and is among the youngest in the skies, with an average age of 55 months – over eight years less than the industry average. The airline plans to more than double its size by 2012.

Emirates presently has 127 aircraft pending delivery, worth approximately $35 billion in list prices. This includes 45 Airbus A380s (two of them freighters), 20 A340-600 HGWs, 44 Boeing 777-300ERs, 10 777-200LRs as well as eight 777-200LRF and one A310-300F freighter. Emirates announced the largest order in commercial aviation history at the 2003 Paris Air Show, when it added 71 new Airbus and Boeing aircraft worth $19 billion to its order book.

The airline was the launch carrier for the new ultra long-haul A340-500, which started service on December 1, 2003 on the Sydney route. It also was the first airline to order the revolutionary A380-800 double-decker and will be the main launch carrier for the innovative A340-600 HGW. Emirates' order for 45 A380s, which it will start receiving in the first quarter of 2007, makes it the largest customer of the Airbus super-jumbo.

Emirates operates services to more than 78 cities in 55 countries in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent and Asia-Pacific. Since January 2004 the airline has launched services to ten new destinations, including the Seychelles, Seoul and Alexandria in the first half of 2005.

Emirates has codeshare agreements with Air India, Air Mauritius, Continental Airlines, Japan Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, South African Airways, SriLankan Airlines, and Thai Airways.

Emirates Airline includes Emirates SkyCargo and Destination & Leisure Management (D&LM), which manages Emirates Holidays, Arabian Adventures and Al Maha Desert Resort. The airline is part of the Emirates Group, which also includes associate companies Dnata, Mercator, Transguard and Galileo.

Visit Emirates online at: www.emirates.com

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