Press Room

History

The milestones in Emirates’ incredible journey

The story of a firm whose success story is intertwined with the incredible 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. A combination of business acumen, ambition, and savvy investment set in motion a series of events that have propelled Emirates and dnata to a position among the most respected and recognized brands in the world.

  • Emirates brings its A380 to India with a first-ever display at the Hyderabad Air Show.
  • Emirates launches flights to Boston, its eighth gateway in the USA.
  • Emirates is named the world’s Most Valuable Airline Brand.
  • Emirates expands its social media footprint with the launch of its official Twitter channel.
  • Football legends Pelé and Cristiano Ronaldo star in Emirates’ global campaign to connect sports fans around the world, as global ambassadors for the airline.
  • Emirates becomes the first airline to offer a scheduled A380 service at London Gatwick.
  • Double daily A380 services to Paris Charles de Gaulle and New York JKF are introduced.
  • Concourse A opens at Dubai International—the world’s first dedicated A380 facility and home of the Emirates A380.
  • London Heathrow becomes an all A380 route, following the launch of the fifth daily A380 service.
  • Emirates opens its 35th dedicated airline lounge at Milan Malpensa airport.
  • Qantas and Emirates partnership commences, offering 98 weekly flights between Dubai and Australia.
  • Emirates joins Boeing in Seattle to celebrate the unveiling of the manufacturer's 1,000th 777. The landmark aircraft becomes the 102nd to join Emirates’ Boeing 777 fleet. 
  • Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Dublin, Lusaka, Harare, Dallas, Seattle, Ho Chi Minh City, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Washington join the Emirates network and a cargo-only service launches to Liege. 
  • dnata acquires a majority stake in Travel Republic, the largest privately owned online travel agency in the UK, completing one of the biggest transactions in the company’s history. 
  • Marhaba celebrates its 20th anniversary and unveils a new look. 
  • In tennis, Emirates becomes the Official Airline of the US Open and title sponsor of the Emirates Airline US Open Series. 
  • Emirates becomes the Team Sponsor of cricket’s Indian Premier League side Deccan Chargers.
  • Emirates places the largest single order in Boeing’s history—50 777-300 ER aircraft, worth $18 billion in list price. The order also includes 20 777-300 ER options valued at US$8 billion.
  • The Emirates Group posts a record profit of AED 5.9 billion (US$1.6 billion) for the fiscal year.
  • Basra, Geneva, Copenhagen, St. Petersburg, and Baghdad are added to the Emirates network, and cargo-only service to Erbil is launched.
  • Shanghai, Johannesburg, Munich, and Rome are added to Emirates’ A380 network.
  • Emirates becomes the Partner and Official Airline of Real Madrid.
  • Emirates and the Victoria Racing Club announce a new five-year sponsorship agreement.
  • Emirates SkyCargo completes its first 100 percent paperless freighter flight between Nairobi and Amsterdam.
  • Emirates agrees to sponsor the Emirates Air Line, a cable car across London’s River Thames.
  • AeroMobile, Emirates’ inflight mobile phone service provider, reaches its 5 millionth user and Emirates launches Wi-Fi internet connectivity for its A380 fleet.
  • dnata unveils a new company philosophy and fresh visual branding.
  • dnata announces a global investment of US$70 million in new equipment and facilities.
  • dnata acquires a 50 percent interest in Wings Inflight Services, a South African catering services provider.
  • Emirates celebrates its 25th anniversary, marking a quarter of a century of success and remarkable growth.
  • New routes to Tokyo, Amsterdam, Prague, Al Medinah al Munawarah, Madrid, and Dakar launch, and cargo-only operations to Almaty, Bagram, and Campinas commence.
  • The Emirates Group posts an increased profit of AED 4.2 billion (US$1.1 billion) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010.
  • Emirates orders 32 additional A380s at the Berlin Air Show, along with GP7200 engines by Engine Alliance. It also orders 30 additional B777-300ERs at the Farnborough Air Show.
  • Emirates is part of celebrations in South Africa as an Official Partner of the FIFA World Cup.
  • Emirates SkyCargo operates the first paperless flight between Mauritius and Dubai, with all shipments carried processed electronically.
  • Emirates SkyCargo sets a new record for the longest nonstop freighter flight ever—17.5 hours between Sydney and New York.
  • dnata acquires Mercator Asia in Thailand, its first overseas IT subsidiary.
  • dnata ground handling welcomes the first commercial flight to land at the new Dubai World Central–Al Maktoum International.
  • dnata officially opens its baggage hub control center across all three terminals at Dubai International Airport.
  • dnata becomes the fourth largest catering provider worldwide by acquiring Alpha Flight Group Ltd.
  • Emirates Skywards®, with more than 5 million members, marks its 10th anniversary with a new look and an enhanced program.
  • dnata acquires two of the UK’s leading ground-handling operations, at London Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport.
  • dnata opens Afghanistan’s first internationally recognized one-stop travel shop in the country’s capital, Kabul.
  • Emirates launches flights to Durban and Luanda.
  • Emirates begins operations of the Airbus A380 on the Sydney, Auckland, Bangkok, Toronto, and Seoul routes.
  • Emirates becomes the world’s largest operator of Boeing 777s with the delivery of its 78th B777 aircraft.
  • Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Australia’s first conservation-based resort and Emirates Hotels & Resorts’ first property outside of Dubai, welcomes its first guests.
  • Arsenal Soccer Schools Dubai, a joint venture between Emirates and Arsenal, opens its doors.
  • dnata marks its 50th anniversary at the Dubai Airshow.
  • Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa celebrates its 10th anniversary.
  • Premier Inn, a joint venture between the Emirates Group and Whitbread plc, opens its second hotel in Dubai at Silicon Oasis.
  • The millionth Emirates passenger uses his or her own mobile phone on an aircraft equipped with the AeroMobile system.
  • The largest ever Emirates’ TV advertising campaign to date, “Meet Dubai,” airs around the world.
  • Emirates opens its Community Health Education Society (CHES) home for HIV-positive children in Chennai, India.
  • dnata acquires a 23% share of worldwide corporate travel company Hogg Robinson Group (HRG), the largest share of the company, which gives dnata access to a network of 120 countries.
  • dnata purchases a 49% share in Mind Pearl, a global contact center outsource organization, which expands dnata offering of contact center outsource solutions across three continents.
  • dnata’s cargo operation joins forces with Kanoo, UAE, and SDV International Logistics, France, to create one of the UAE’s largest logistics solutions providers, Freightworks.
  • The company moves into the new multimillion-dollar Emirates Group Headquarters.
  • The Emirates-dedicated Terminal 3 opens in October; within a month 500,000 passengers have flown out the terminal.
  • Emirates SkyCargo begins operations out of Dubai Cargo Village’s new Mega Terminal, with a capacity to handle 1.2 million tons annually.
  • The first Emirates flight to Los Angeles touches down, and flights are also launched to San Francisco and Cape Town.
  • Emirates becomes the first international carrier to introduce an inflight mobile phone service.
  • Emirates takes delivery of three A380s and aviation history is made when its first A380 touches down in New York.
  • The 10,000th cabin crew member joins the Emirates team.
  • New Emirates sporting facility 7he Sevens hosts record crowds at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens.
  • dnata enters the European market for the first time with the takeover of Jet Aviation Handling AG, the airport-handling division of Swiss-based Jet Aviation Group.
  • Emirates stuns the world by signing contracts for 120 Airbus A350s, 11 A380s, and 12 Boeing 777-330ERs, worth an estimated $34.9 billion, at the Dubai Air Show.
  • New Engineering Center and Engine Test Cell are officially opened.
  • The Emirates Harbour Hotel & Residence and the Marina Hotel open their doors.
  • The addition of Sao Paulo to the network results in the first nonstop flight between the Middle East and South America.
  • Emirates Flight Catering begins operations at its new $120 million facility at Dubai International.
  • Emirates signs an agreement for 10 Boeing 747-8Fs in a deal worth $3.3 billion.
  • Emirates seals a $195 million partnership deal with Fifa, the world governing body of football, and also buys the rights to screen every match played at the Germany World Cup on flights.
  • Arsenal plays its first match at the new Emirates Stadium.
  • Sheikh Ahmed says Emirates is at the heart of Dubai’s AED 300 billion investment in aviation and aerospace.
  • Emirates SkyCargo signs $2.8 billion order for 10 Boeing 747-8Fs.
  • Emirates Group workforce totals 25,000 people from 124 countries around the world, making it Dubai’s biggest employer.
  • Passenger traffic continues to rise, with 12.5 million recorded in the year.
  • 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.
  • The SkyCargo fleet is increased with three Airbus A310-300s added to its six Boeing 747s.
  • Emirates makes its first flight to North America, a nonstop 14-hour flight to New York’s JFK Airport. This marks the first nonstop passenger service from the Middle East to North America, a continent that Mr. Flanagan describes, in aviation terms, as the most important in the world.
  • Emirates signs a £100 million deal with English Premiership side Arsenal, which includes naming rights to its new stadium for 15 years and shirt sponsorship for 8 years, beginning with the 2006/07 season.
  • dnata opens its first regional travel outlet in Kuwait.
  • CAE and Emirates join forces to open the $100 million Emirates Aviation Training Center, which boasts numerous full-flight simulators.
  • Emirates shocks the industry at the Paris Air Show with the biggest deal in civil aviation history—a staggering order for 71 aircraft at a cost of $19 billion.
  • Daily service from Dubai to Sydney starts on the first A340-500 to join the fleet.
  • The A340-500 features the revolutionary ice in-flight entertainment system, which offers 500 channels in all classes and a phone at every seat.
  • After carrying 8.5 million passengers, an increase of 26%, the airline posts an incredible profit increase of 94 percent, to AED 907 million from AED 468 million.
  • dnata is given a new corporate logo, a globe cushioned by a stylized runway represented by a curving green strip.
  • Four million passengers vote in the Skytrax Internet poll and Emirates is again named Airline of the Year.
  • Global passenger levels drop by 4 percent but Emirates figures rise 18.3 percent, to 6.8 million.
  • Cargo across the world plunges 9 percent but Emirates enjoys an increase of 19.5 percent, to 400,000 tons.
  • Emirates Group announces a $275 million investment in a new hangar complex at the Emirates Engineering Center.
  • Emirates SkyCargo Center opens with the capacity to handle 400,000 tons of cargo a year.
  • 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.
  • Emirates takes delivery of its 18th Airbus A330-200 and orders two more, making it the biggest A330 operator in the world.
  • With rivals reeling from September 11 and Boeing and Airbus in a weak bargaining position, Emirates stuns the world by announcing a $15 billion order for 15 A380s, eight A340-600s, 3 A330s, and 25 Boeing 777s.
  • The Sheikh Rashid Terminal opens, increasing capacity at Dubai International to 22 million passengers a year.
  • Frequent flyer loyalty program Emirates Skywards is launched.
  • Sheikh Ahmed announces Dubai Government is to invest $500–600 million in the new Terminal 3, which will have capacity for 20 million passengers a year.
  • Emirates becomes the first airline to sign up for the Airbus A380 when it orders seven, with an option on five more, at the Farnborough Air Show.
  • Emirates buys another six Boeing 777-300s.
  • Mr. Flanagan is made a Commander of the British Empire.
  • Emirates enters the hotel property market with the opening of the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa.
  • The first of 17 next-generation Airbus A330-200s arrive in Dubai.
  • Emirates Group’s workforce totals 11,000.
  • dnata enters the southeast Asian airport services market with the launch of dnata Philippines Inc.
  • The airline capitalizes on the UAE’s growing ties with Australia and a deal is struck to add Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth to the Melbourne route.
  • Emirates sponsors the Melbourne Cup—the biggest meeting in Australia’s horse racing calendar—and the nation’s cricket team at the World Cup.
  • The livery of the Emirates fleet is updated with a modern, dynamic design.
  • Passenger arrivals at Dubai International hit the 11 million mark.
  • Emirates increases its capacity by 26 percent as passenger figures hit 3.7 million, while cargo levels go up to 200,000 tons.
  • The Group takes a 43 percent stake in Air Lanka, which is renamed SriLankan.
  • Emirates is voted Best Airline in the World at the prestigious OAG Awards.
  • The $540 million Terminal 2 is opened at Dubai International.
  • Emirates enters a $2 billion order for 16 Airbus A330-200s.
  • Airline defies high fuel prices to again post record profits as passenger figures top 3 million and the cargo haul hits 150,000 tons.
  • Emirates takes delivery of six Boeing 777-200s, giving it new long-haul capabilities.
  • Emirates Airline takes delivery of its first Boeing 777-200 and becomes the first airline to show live footage of take-off and landing. Its maiden flight to London is followed by its inaugural flight to Melbourne.
  • Emirates becomes title sponsor of the world’s richest horse racing event, the Dubai World Cup.
  • As the airline celebrates its 10th birthday, it has a fleet flying to 34 locations in the Middle East, Far East, and Europe.
  • Emirates enters the African market, with flights into Johannesburg and Nairobi.
  • Sheikh Ahmed’s goal for more Emiratis to forge careers with Emirates starts to take shape as the first pilots graduate from Emirates’ training program.
  • Emirates Flight Training Center opens.
  • Emirates is the first airline to equip an Airbus fleet with an on-flight 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.
  • Emirates convinces the French government to allow it to fly into Paris.
  • $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 percent of its normal services during the first month of the conflict.
  • Emirates finally gets a slot at the busiest international hub in the world—London Heathrow.
  • Shortly after the arrival of another Airbus A300-600R, taking its fleet to nine, Emirates orders seven Boeing 777s, with an option for seven more, in a $64.5 million deal.
  • As the airline celebrates its sixth anniversary, 25,000 passengers a week are being flown to 23 destinations.
  • Sheikh Ahmed signs up for three more Airbus A310-300s at the Asean Aerospace exhibition in Singapore.
  • Emirates bucks the industry trend and continues to expand despite the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, adding Manchester to its schedule.
  • Flights are added to Singapore, Manila, and Bangkok.
  • Damascus is added to the Emirates route network, giving it a total 12 destinations in just 38 months of business.
  • Deals are struck to fly into London’s Gatwick Airport, as well as Istanbul, Frankfurt, and Male, the capital of the Maldives.
  • On July 3, Emirates A6-EKA flies from to Toulouse to Dubai as the airline takes delivery of its first purchased aircraft.
  • The Airbus A310-304 is designed to Emirates specifications, giving the airline the opportunity to fully implement its commitment to offering a flying experience that is superior to its rivals.
  • The network grows with traffic rights acquired into Amman, Colombo, Cairo, and Dhaka.
  • Investment in infrastructure and expansion costs means Emirates posts losses for what would be the only time in its history.
  • Sheikh Mohammed introduces Mr. Flanagan to his uncle and future Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
  • Mr. Flanagan embarks on an ambitious mission to launch an airline with $10 million in five months.
  • Sheikh Ahmed and future president Tim Clark join Mr. Flanagan’s team.
  • Pakistan International Airlines agrees to wet-lease two aircraft to Emirates.
  • Deals are struck to fly into Karachi, New Delhi, and Bombay.
  • On October 25, Flight EK600 departs Dubai International for Karachi.
  • Sheikh Mohammed gifts two Boeing 727-200s to the airline.
  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Mr. Flanagan discuss launching an airline in Dubai.
  • Mr. Flanagan is among a 10-person team that produces a business plan for the new airline, to be named either Dubai Airlines or Emirates Airline.
  • Sheikh Mohammed opts for Emirates and the decision is made to build the airline on top of dnata, which is already the sales agent for 25 airlines.
  • Maurice Flanagan moves to Dubai to become director and general manager of dnata.
  • Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum opens the airport and implements an 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.