A brief history of Emirates | Airlines

Not only is Emirates one of the world’s leading airlines, but it has also grown to be one of the planet’s most recognized brands. Serving 136 destinations worldwide from its hub at Dubai International Airport (DXB) using a fleet of 260 wide-bodied aircraft, it has become a major player on the global aviation stage.

However, this was not always the case. Remarkably, one only needs to go back less than four decades to find a time when Emirates did not even exist, and when legacy carriers such as British Airways, Gulf Air, Singapore Airlines, Pan Am, TWA, and others dominated long-haul international air travel instead.

Fast forward to 2024 and Emirates is now one the world’s busiest airlines in terms of international travelers, carrying 51.9 million passengers and earning a staggering $37.4 billion in revenue in the year ending March 2024. So how did Emirates come from the mere idea of a way to boost tourism in the Middle East to boasting such lofty credentials?

2024 marks four decades since the inception of Emirates. In this article, AeroTime takes a whistle-stop tour of the history of the airline and examines the key milestones that converted that early vision into the global megacarrier that the airline has become today.

In the beginning

Before diving into the…

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