Emirates: Soaring To New Heights

Innovative airline uses technology from NASA and Mercedes-Benz to elevate customer experience.

Launched in 1985, Emirates airline is not only the largest airline in the Middle East—it is also at the vanguard of aviation. Last year, the company innovated in its aircraft design and construction, customer experience, human resources and R&D.

The coolest-sounding innovations are in the planes. The company boasts a fleet of cutting-edge aircraft, with 103 Airbus 380s, 151 Boeing 777s, and a further 243 aircraft pending delivery, including 40 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Earlier this year at the Arabian Travel Market 2018 exhibition, Emirates unveiled First Class Private Suites in its Boeing 777s—now built with virtual windows, NASA-inspired “zero-gravity seating,” and design details by Mercedes-Benz. Some of the cabin parts are now made via 3D printing, a process innovation that enables further customization. Other improvements include more onboard Wi-Fi, a 3000+ channel entertainment system and sustainably made blankets.

Because state-of-the-art aircraft need highly skilled pilots, Emirates launched its own flight-training academy in late 2017. Located in Dubai, this new facility can accommodate up to 600 students. They will be trained using the latest technologies, including virtual reality.

To continue finding fresh solutions through its R&D efforts, Emirates introduced Aviation X-Lab last November. This experimental space brings together aviation professionals from all backgrounds with the goal of shaping the future of transportation. “This will enable Emirates to co-create high impact solutions with our industry partners (…) that will propel the UAE’s aviation sector to new heights, and unlock the possibilities of an interconnected world,” commented Emirates Group’s chairman and CEO, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum.