Research Analyst
Jan 30 - Feb 5, 2012

Emirates is an airline based at Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Emirates is the largest airline in the Middle East, operating over 2,400 flights per week, from its hub at terminal 3, to 116 cities in 68 countries across six continents.

Presently, Emirates has built up a strong brand name as a leader in the aviation industry, particularly in terms of service excellence, and its very rapid growth, coupled with consistent profitability.

In 2010, Emirates was voted the eighth best airline in the world. Emirates has diversified into related industries and sectors including airport services, engineering, hospitality services, catering, and tour operator operations. Emirates has seven subsidiaries and its parent company has more than 50. Emirates employed 38,797 staff as of March 2011 (its fiscal year's end).

Its parent company, the Emirates Group, employed total 49,950 employees of which 10,785 were cabin crew, 2,237 were flight deck crew, 1,904 were in engineering, and 9,084 were listed as other.

The primary focus for Emirates and its employees is to deliver superior customer service. In turn, Emirates provides its employees with benefits such as comprehensive health plans and paid maternity and sick leave. Another strategy employed by Emirates is to use profit sharing and merit pay as part of their competency based approach to performance management.

The company also operates three of the world's ten longest non-stop commercial flights from Dubai to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Dallas starting flights to Dubai in February 2012.

Emirates has been steadily capturing the traffic from South Asia to North America, allowing passengers to bypass the traditional hubs of London Heathrow, Frankfurt, and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, the home bases of British Airways, Lufthansa, and Air France, respectively, with a transit stop at Dubai International Airport instead.

South Asia has remained an important region for the Emirates network. Pakistan was the first country to receive flights from the airline and it still does to this day.

India was the second country to receive flights from Emirates. Emirates is the largest airline operating internationally in India and operates over 185 flights a week across 10 cities. Similarly, Emirates competes with British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International, Middle Eastern rivals, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, and other airlines on the lucrative London to Sydney Kangaroo Route.

Emirates operates a mixed fleet of airbus and Boeing wide-body aircraft and is one of only nine airlines to operate an all-wide-body aircraft fleet, whose centerpiece is the Boeing 777.

Emirates is also eyeing for 90 airbus A380s with 20 of them already in service. It became the second operator of the airbus A380-800 after Singapore Airlines when their first aircraft was delivered in 2008. Emirates has won numerous awards and is an industry bellwether in aircraft purchases, purchasing over 130 aircraft in 2007 alone.

The airline ranks amongst the top 10 carriers worldwide in terms of revenue passenger kilometer (RPK), and has become the largest airline in the Middle East in terms of revenue, fleet size, and passengers carried as of 2007.

In 2010, the airline was the sixth-largest airline in the world in terms of international passengers carried and largest in the world in terms of scheduled international passenger-kilometers flown. The airline was also the seventh largest in terms of scheduled freight tonne-kilometers flown.


During the mid-1980s, Gulf Air began to cut back its services to Dubai as it was providing regional feeder flights for other carriers. As a result, Emirates was conceived in March 1985 with backing from Dubai's royal family, and was required to operate independent of government subsidies, apart from US$10 million in start-up capital.

Emirates leased a new Boeing 737-300, as well as an Airbus 300B4-200, both from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) which were returned in 1987. The Royal Family's Dubai Royal Air Wing also provided the airline two used Boeing 727-200/Advs. The airline's first flight, flight EK600, was Dubai-Karachi in 1985.


In February 2011, Air Transport World gave Emirates Airlines the title of "Airline of the Year" for 2011 in recognition of its commitment to safety and operational excellence, customer service trendsetters, financial condition including a 22-year consecutive annual profit.

Further, during the financial year 2009-10 numbers of passengers reached 27.4 million, up from 22.7 million reported in 2008-09 representing an increase of 20.1 per cent over the previous year.

Cargo carried in 2009-10 also improved 12.2 per cent to 1,580,000 tonnes (2008-09: 1,408,000 tonnes). The airline's profits for the 2009-10 rose more than fourfold to AED3,538 million ($964 million) up by AED2,852 million (2008-09: AED 686 million) on the back of cost cutting and a nearly 21 per cent rise in passengers.

Its parent company saw profit up 248 per cent for to $1.1 billion for the year to 31 March compared with a $406 million profit for the previous year. The airline claims it pays market rates for its fuel contrary to common belief. However, it has a highly successful fuel-price-hedging program.