This is a photograph guaranteed to scare the life of most mortal airline chief executives worried about the market power of Emirates. And it doesn’t contain any potentially game-changing 500-plus seat Airbus A380s yet.
The carrier, shown here with a large chunk of its fleet gathered at its Dubai hub and powerbase, recently took delivery of its 90th aircraft, a Boeing 777-300ER. By the end of the year it will reach the magic 100-aircraft mark, and will easily exceed it during 2007. What this means is that aircraft in Emirates livery will soon be visited a major city near you, or if they are already in town, they will be upping frequency.
Such seemingly unstoppable, and by all accounts profitable, growth, makes others nervous and jealous. And the story is far from over. As its chairman, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, says: “The Emirates fleet, which started on a humble footing of just two leased aircraft in 1985, has since doubled in size every five years on average.”
That progress will continue it seems because the airline has over 100 aircraft on order, including 45 A380s and 60 777s, and more orders to come.