Emirates first flew 25 years ago today

Emirates A340-500
Photograph: AirSpace user boeing777


Twenty-five years ago today was the first ever Emirates flight. EK600 took from Dubai bound for Pakistan’s Karachi.

In that week’s Flight International, we covered the occasion with this short report:


EmirateAirlines,the recentlylaunchedDubai carrier, plans to purchase nine aircraft over the next four years for Asian, European, and Middle East routes, according to chairman Sheik Ahmad ibn Saeed al Maktoum. Emirates has already signed a one-year lease with Pakistan International Airlines for a Boeing 737-300 and an AirbusIndustrie A300.

We devoted almost as much space to report Virgin Atlantic had purchased a 747-200, its second aircraft.

Fast-forward twenty-five years and both Emirates and Virgin Atlantic have left their mark on the industry, but there is no questioning Emirates today has a larger spread. It is one of few carriers with an all-wide body fleet (good bye leased 737-300) and the nine aircraft it planned to purchase over four years is now the number of frames Emirates seems to purchase quarterly.

Back in 1985 it would have seemed unfathomable that Airbus could overtake Boeing, create a jet larger than the 747, have Emirates, the sleepy carrier from the backwater of Dubai, order ninety of the aircraft, and then put showers in them.

What will the next 25 years bring Emirates and the industry?

Here’s how some people are commemorating Emirates’ 25th anniversary

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