Sky-high ambition: the rise and rise of Emirates Airline

How Dubai's flag carrier grew into the world's largest airline and aviation's biggest success story
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On October 25, 1985, the first Emirates flight EK600 departed from Dubai International for Karachi (Image credit: Emirates Airline)
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In 1978, UK-based Maurice Flanagan moved to Dubai to head dnata. Six years later, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Flanagan discussed launching an airline in Dubai (Image credit: Emirates Airline)
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Flanagan and his team produced a business plan for the new airline – to be named either Dubai Airlines or Emirates airline. Sheikh Mohammed opted for Emirates (Image credit: Emirates Airline)
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Emirates became profitable within its first nine months of launch (Image credit: Emirates Airline)
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Emirates celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, marking a quarter of a century of success and remarkable growth (Image credit: Emirates Airline)
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Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, dated around 1985 (Image credit: Emirates Airline)
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In 1991, Emirates got a slot at the busiest international hub in the world – London Heathrow (Getty Images)
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In Oct 2008, Emirates-dedicated Terminal 3 opened and within a month 500,000 passengers had flown out the terminal (Getty Images)
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The Emirates Group posted a record profit of AED5.9bn for the financial year ending 31 March 2011 (Getty Images)
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Today, Emirates has a fleet of 162 aircraft flying to 116 destinations and has a further 243 planes on order worth over $84bn (Getty Images)
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Its number of cabin crew rose to over 12,000 for the first time in 2011 (Getty Images)
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View of Dubai airport in the early 1950s (Image credit: Dubai Airports)
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An honour guard waits outside\nDubai airport in this photo taken in the 1950s (Image credit: Dubai Airports)
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Coming of age: Dubai International Airport in\nthe 1980s (Image credit: Dubai Airports)
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A view of the Dubai Airport in 1950s. Through the first ten months of 2011, passenger numbers at the Dubai Airport totalled 41,855,561 (Image credit: Dubai Airports)
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A 1950s view of an untitled plane off Dubai's coast(Image credit: Dubai Airports)