A Brief Introduction Into the History of Emirates Airlines

Table of Content

The Middle East has now become a hub for tourism. This is only a recent thing, as 10 years ago the Middle East wasn’t as popular as it is today. There are many reasons why the Middle East countries’ have become an increasing popular holiday destination. The main factor being the sun, sea and sand. Also, the Middle East is a good central hub between Europe, Africa and Asia.

Due to this increase in tourism for Middle Eastern countries they have improved their infrastructure, as well as hotels and other attractions. An interesting statistic is from 2003-2012 there have been 122 new hotels that have opened in Dubai, from 26,156 rooms to 57,345 rooms. This has been done as there is such a high demand for hotels in Dubai, as it has become such a popular holiday destination. This is similar to other countries in the Middle East.

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Research has shown that: In Egypt tourism has risen from 5.5 million tourists in 2000, to 14 million tourists in 2010.  In 2003, there were 4,980,228 million tourists that stayed in a Dubai hotel, in 2012 there were 9,957,161 million tourists that stayed in a Dubai hotel that is an increase of 4,976,933 million tourists. To the left is a graph which shows the number of guests that have stayed in Dubai, whether it is in a hotel or a hotel apartment. From the graph you can see that there has been a sharp increase in total guests in Dubai from 2001-2011.

Due to the huge in demand in flights to the Middle East, it has made it extremely competitive between the airline companies in the region. In this research project I am going to focus on Emirates airlines as I live in Dubai, and find out whether or not they are the best airline in the Middle East.

Early 20th century

Airplanes were around in the first few years of the 20th century, but flying was risky and not common until 1925. In 1925, the Air Mail Act facilitated the development of the airline industry by allowing the postmaster to contract with private airlines to deliver mail. Shortly after, the Air Commerce Act gave the Secretary of Commerce power to establish airways, certify aircraft, license pilots, and issue and enforce air traffic regulations. The first commercial airlines included Pan American, Western Air Express and Ford Transport Service.

Mid-20th century

In 1938, the Civil Aeronautics Act established the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB). This board served numerous functions; the two most significant being determining airline routes of travel and regulating prices for passenger fares. The Federal Aviation Agency, now known as the Federal Aviation Administration was created in 1958 to manage safety operations.

In the mid-1970s, Alfred Kahn, an economist and deregulation advocate, became chairman of the CAB. Around the same time as this, a British airline began offering significantly inexpensive transatlantic flights, awakening a desire for U.S based airlines to lower their fares.

Late 20th century

Post de-regulation, new airlines entered the market, followed by new routes directly connected cities previously accessible only via a few layovers. This led to fares dropping as competition and the number of customers increased.

In 1981, an air traffic controllers strike led to a temporary setback to the growth, which continued through the 1980s. Some of the major airlines who had dominated in the early stages such as Pan American and TWA began to collapse due to heavy competition. Following the Gulf War those airlines completely disappeared.

21st century

In 2001, the airline industry dealt with the effects of an economic downturn as business decreased drastically while labour and fuel costs increased. The events of 9/11 greatly magnified the airlines’ issues, leading to a sharp decline in customers and higher operating costs. Airlines suffered continued losses for years as a result of the events that occurred in 2001.


A strong and stable leadership team, ambitious yet calculated decision-making and ground breaking ideas all contribute to the creation of great companies.

Of course, they have played a major part in our development, but we believe our business ethics are the foundation of which are success has been built. Caring for our employees, and stakeholders, as well as the environment and the communities we serve have played a huge part in our past and will continue to shape our future.


1984: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Mr Flanagan discuss launching an airline in Dubai. Mr Flanagan is among a 10 man team which 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 was already the sales agent for 25 airlines.

1985: 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 Emirates two aircraft. Deals are struck to fly into Karachi, New Delhi and Bombay. On October 25th flight EK 600 departs Dubai International for Karachi. Sheikh Mohammed gifts two Boeing 727-200s to the airline.

1986: Network grows with traffic rights acquired into Amman. Colombo, Cairo and Dhaka. Investment in infrastructure and expansion costs sees Emirates post losses for what would be their only time in their history.

1987-1990: Deals are struck to fly into London Gatwick, Istanbul, Frankfurt, Male, Damascus, Singapore, Manila and Bangkok.

1991-2000: Emirates finally get a slot at the busiest international hub in the world – London Heathrow. Becomes the first airline to install video systems in all seats in all classes throughout its fleet. $2 million terminal exclusive to Emirates is opened at Dubai International. Airline takes delivery of its first Boeing 777-200 and becomes the first airline to show live footage of take-off and landing. Airline defies high fuel prices to again post record profits as passenger figures top three million and the cargo haul hits 150,000 tonnes.

2001-2010: In a survey of 2.7 million airline passengers by Skytrax Research, Emirates was voted Airline of the Year. With rivals reeling from September 11th and Boeing and Airbus in a weak bargaining position, Emirates stuns the world by announcing a $15 billion order for fifteen A380s, eight A340-600s, three A330s and twenty-five Boeing 777s. After carrying 8.5 million passengers, an increase of 26%, the airline posts an incredible profit increase of 94% to AED 907 million from AED 468 million. Emirates celebrate its 25th anniversary, marking a quarter of a century of success and remarkable growth.

2011-2012: Places the largest single order in Boeing’s history, fifty 777-300 ER aircraft, worth $18 billion in list price. Emirates Group posts a record profit of AED 5.9 billion ($1.6 billion). Basra, Geneva, Copenhagen, St Petersburg, Baghdad, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Dublin, Lusaka, Harare, Dallas, Seattle, Ho Chi Minh City, Barcelona, Lisbon and Washington all join the Emirates network.

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A Brief Introduction Into the History of Emirates Airlines. (2016, May 11). Retrieved from


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