Relatively young in comparison to its competitors, Emirates' inaugural flight left Dubai in 1985. The carrier is owned by the Dubai government and has grown significantly since then. A fleet of two planes has multiplied to 170, with a service to 120 destinations across 70 countries. Emirates has consistently made record orders for aircrafts since 2001, placing the single largest aircraft order in dollar value in Boeing's history in 2011, valued at USD 18 billion. During 2011/2012, Emirates carried 34 million passengers.
As part of the wider Emirates Group, the airline divisions commitment to providing the highest quality of service places it amongst the market leaders in the industry. New global routes were established in 2011 and 2012, extending the carrier's already-impressive portfolio and increasing its global influence. The airline aims to grow Dubai into a worldwide long-haul aviation hub.
Emirates can't stop winning awards. Frommer's Travel Guides named Emirates "Top North American Club Lounge" in 2011, and they were voted Best Airline and Best Airline Cabin Crew in the Holiday Extras Customers' Awards. During 2010 the Dubai airline earned four more awards including a Gold Annual Air Cargo Excellence Award. In 2009 alone, the carrier was awarded Best Airline of the Year from three separate sources, alongside awards for Best Website, Best First Class Cabin and Best Inflight Entertainment.
The 2012 shortlist below