(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The world's leading airline's aircraft flew around the world more than 18,000 times in 2013, underlining its position as a global connector of people and places.
Figures show the airline's fleet travelled more than 751 million kilometres throughout the year. Taking the earth's circumference at the equator as 40,075 kilometres, this translates into the equivalent of 18,753 circumnavigations, Emirates elaborated in a statement on Tuesday.
"2013 has been another impressive year for the airline. We continue to raise the bar in the industry with investment, innovation and the expansion of our services globally, bringing unrivalled value for money to the millions who travel with us," said Tim Clark, president of Emirates airline. The airline's statement said a total of 164,635 flights were conducted, carrying over 43 million passengers, who enjoyed the finest dining in the skies and the very best in-flight entertainment.
Emirates Flight Catering loaded nearly 46 million meals aboard the airline's flights departing Dubai. A particularly memorable day for the catering team was December 20, 2013, when a staggering 157,308 meals were produced, breaking their previous record of 147,722 on March 1, 2013. It is pertinent to note that catering figures cover meals loaded at Dubai International only and this does not include meals loaded at other destinations.
During the year the airline received 24 new aircraft - a combination of Airbus A380s, Boeing 777s and 777 freighters. Nine new passenger routes have been launched; Warsaw, Algiers, Tokyo Haneda, Stockholm, Clark, Milan-New York, Conakry, Sialkot and Kabul. Hanoi, Chicago, Kano in Nigeria and Quito in Ecuador have been launched as cargo only destinations.
The first major milestone of 2013 was January's opening of Concourse A, the world's first purpose built A380 concourse. The giant building with 20 A380 gates is over 800 million long and houses the largest airline lounges in the world.
In February, Emirates went from big to fast, becoming a Global Partner of Formula 1 in a five-year deal starting with the 2013 season.
April saw the landmark commercial deal with Qantas come to life. The new partnership brings the total combined number of weekly flights from Dubai to Australia to 98.
In May, The Emirates Group, which includes dnata, announced its 25th consecutive year of profit, despite the continuing tough international business environment. For the 2012-13 financial year, the group posted a Dh3.1 billion (845 million) net profit, up 34 per cent from the previous financial year.
August brought the fifth anniversary of Emirates' A380 operations. At the five-year mark, its A380 fleet had carried more than 18 million passengers on over 45,000 flights. Earlier this month, the double decker, offering more than 400 hours of Hollywood movies, was deployed to Los Angeles, creating the world's longest A380 service in operation at 16 hours and 20 minutes.
"We were bold ordering this double-decker when we did, and in the numbers that we did, but my goodness, it has proved to be a gamble worth taking, said Clark.
"Our customers love it, and it is one of the most efficient aircraft to operate today in terms of fuel burn per passenger."
In September, Emirates' fans were given an unprecedented look behind the scenes of its home base at Dubai International. The 10-part series, "Ultimate Airport Dubai", charts the incredible story of Dubai's aviation sector on National Geographic Channel. The documentary can also be viewed on Emirates' ice Digital Widescreen.
In October, Emirates hit two million Facebook fans and predicted it would be carrying a total of 70 million passengers by 2020, a date which has now taken on a new significance after Dubai landed Expo 2020.
Emirates has won a host of awards during 2013 - most notably the Skytrax "World's Best Airline" award. Close to 18,000 cabin crew from 137 nationalities help to deliver the world renowned on board service.
Emirates Skywards membership has now reached 10 million and new partnerships for the year include American Express, Virgin America and JetBlue.
The most headline grabbing news of 2013 was the dramatic announcement at November's Dubai Airshow. Held for the first time at the emerging aviation city of Dubai World Central, Emirates ordered 200 aircraft - 150 Boeing 777Xs and 50 A380s. At 99 billion, it was the largest order in civil aviation history, and Emirates, once again, rewrote the history books. Watch the moment.