Then and now: the oldest and newest Emirates aircraft

Fly better with Emirates!
  • Emirates has come a long way from when it started in the 1980s
  • Its first flights were from two wet-leased planes
  • Today, it has a large fleet of more than 250 aircraft

Published on Apr 28, 2024 at 3:26PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Apr 29, 2024 at 4:30PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Daksh Chaudhary
emirates aircraft oldest and newest

Nearly everyone will have heard of the luxury that passengers experience during a flight on an Emirates aircraft.

Proudly decked in the United Arab Emirates flag, the airline is among the most popular names in the industry.

The Emirates will probably have come up if you have ever considered a business or first-class flight.

But how did the airline get here?

READ MORE: Airbus’s innovative ‘Bird of Prey’ masterpiece was designed to inspire next-generation aircraft engineers

The beginning

The Dubai-based airline company made its debut in commercial flights in the mid-1980s.

With a short deadline and $10 million in seed funding, the founders had one task.

That was to start an airline that had to ‘look good, be good, and make money.’

Looking at it now, it certainly did all those things.

Emirates put its first flights into the air back in October of 1985 using two wet-leased planes.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) leased two Emirates aircraft — a Boeing 737 and an Airbus 300 B4.

These first flights headed towards Karachi, Pakistan, and Mumbai, India.

In addition, the luxury airline also received two Boeing 727-200s from the Royal Family of Dubai.

Now, that’s a strong starter fleet for the beginning of an airline.

Two years later, in July 1987, Emirates bought its first owned aircraft — the A6-EKA, which was an Airbus A310-304.

The A6-EKA Emirates aircraft first flew from Toulouse to Dubai.

Eventually, the luxury airline had a fleet of 14 Airbus A310s and seven Airbus A300s.

By 1989, it grew its network to a total of 14 destinations across the world.

The evolution of Emirates aircraft

The airline advanced rapidly in the next decade, being the first to add major features to airplanes that we can still see today.

For instance, Emirates aircraft were the first to feature in-flight entertainment systems, telecommunications within an Airbus, and fax services.

At the time, these were attractive offerings that the competition didn’t have.

Furthermore, the famous Boeing 777s joined its fleet in 1997, and are still a crucial part of the airline’s stock today.

The airline took delivery of many more Boeing 777 aircraft in the following years, making it a vital part of its operations.

These 777s were a mixed bag — including several -200s, -300s, and -300ERs.

The 777 is yet another extremely remarkable plane produced by Boeing in its Boeing Mega Factory — the largest airplane factory in the world.

Not long after, in 2008, it ordered seven Airbus A380 jets, which would soon become the signature Emirates aircraft.

By now, the airline knew that getting the Boeing 777 and Airbus A380s was the right decision.

The Airbus A380 is a solid contender for being the world’s most capable aircraft, much like the Boeing 747.

Emirates kept taking deliveries of more and more of these commercial jets to increase the fleet size.

The luxury Emirates aircraft of the modern world

During the 2010s, the Dubai-based airline pushed on full-throttle – pun completely intended.

It added many more routes and marked its presence across the world.

Emirates received fancy titles like the ‘Most Valuable Airline’ and the ‘World’s Best Airline.’

It entered luxury mode in 2017 when we got the premium first-class private suites.

Suites in an airline were like a new phenomenon, and it surely was a lucrative announcement.

Today, Emirates is one of the world’s biggest airlines and has more than 250 airplanes in its large fleet, including:

  • 121 Airbus A380-800s
  • 124 Boeing 777-300ER
  • 21 Boeing 777-200LR

It undoubtedly has the most luxurious offerings in any airline and continues to add more aircraft to its already enormous fleet.

Looking at the near future, we could see newer Emirates aircraft entering the fleet, including recently launched planes.

The stars of these upcoming additions will certainly be the Boeing 777X and the Boeing 787, which are nothing short of engineering marvels.

Overall, the future of Emirates aircraft seems exciting, and who knows what more we will get in the next decade.

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