The airline operated over 192,000 flights in the last 12 months

Dubai airline Emirates carried over 59 million passengers on over 3,700 passenger flights on average per week during the last 12 months, it announced on Sunday.

In 2018, it operated over 192,000 flights, with its fleet of 274 aircraft travelling more than 908 million kilometres around the globe.

Over 66 million meals were served on its flights departing from Dubai, and close to 36 million pieces of baggage were moved to its network of 157 destinations.

The airline also launched four new routes to London Stansted, Edinburgh, Santiago de Chile as well as the Dubai-Bali-Auckland service. It also added frequencies to 20 destinations, while capacity to eight cities was upgraded.

It also opened a new lounge in Cairo, taking the total number of dedicated Emirates lounges to 42.

Emirates hit two fleet milestones in 2018, celebrating 10 years of A380 operations in August, and taking delivery of its last Boeing 777-300ER, its 146th in December.

In January, the airline also announced a $16bn (Dhs58.7bn) deal for 36 additional Airbus A380 aircraft, to be delivered to Emirates from 2020 onwards.

In the last year, Emirates also undertook a $150m programme to refurbish its Boeing 777-200LR fleet. The 10 newly refurbished aircraft are set in a two-class configuration offering 38 business class seats with wider seats laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration, and 264 seats in economy class.

Emirates also introduced new luxury products in first and business class developed in collaborations with BYREDO skincare, Bowers & Wilkins and Bulgari.

In 2018, the airline also extended its partnership with flydubai to expand access to its customers to a combined network of 206 unique points. Over one million passengers have booked their travel on combined Emirates and flydubai itineraries.

During the year Emirates also announced a new codeshare agreement with Jetstar Pacific and improved its commercial strategic partnership with South African Airways.

Tim Clark, president, Emirates airline said: “We had our challenges in 2018, however we continued to maximise opportunities by deploying our capacity to best serve customer demand, keeping a close watch on our costs, utilising technology to improve business performance, as well as developing more customer-centric products and services to provide our passengers with greater choice.”

Other highlights in 2018

* During 2018, over 12 million passengers connected to wifi onboard Emirates.

* The most popular movie onboard Emirates in 2018 was Black Panther.

* Emirates Skywards, the airline’s loyalty programme hit 20 million members in 2018.

* In 2019, Emirates will be exclusively serving the Dom Pérignon Vintage 2008.

* The airline this year introduced immersive 3D seat models on emirates.com, making it the first airline in the world to roll out web virtual reality (VR) technology on its digital platform.

* Over 6,000 bags have been checked in using Emirates’ home check-in service, which was introduced in April.

Plans ahead

* Emirates revealed this year that it will soon launch the world’s first ‘biometric path’ at the airline’s hub in Dubai International airport. Using biometric technology – a mix of facial and iris recognition, Emirates passengers will be able to check-in for their flight, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates lounge, and board their flights, by simply walking through different airport touchpoints.

* The carrier is now planning for the next generation cabin design of its Boeing 777X programme. On its new generation A380s entering service from 2020 onwards, the carrier is also set to deploy its premium economy product.

* The airline is also bringing in a brand new fleet of buses for airside passenger operations, with 128 buses to be operational by 2020. These dedicated buses will ferry Emirates’ passengers between terminals and its aircraft at remote stands.

* In 2019, 50 more aircraft will be retrofitted with Live TV, providing live sports and breaking news.