Emirates celebrates 15 years of flying to Auckland

Seeing a large Emirates A380 in the skies over Auckland is nothing to write home about these days - but 15 years ago, things were entirely different.

Emirates first touched down in Auckland in 2003. The airline's boss was met by the then-Minister of Sport and Recreation Trevor Mallard, and Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Over 2 million passengers later, the airline is operating daily flights out of Auckland and Christchurch - as well as one of the world's longest flights, non-stop form Auckland to Dubai.

The iconic A380 aircraft was introduced in 2009 on the airline's flights to Dubai via Sydney.

A year later, the double-decker airliner began flying the routes out of Auckland via Melbourne and Brisbane. 

Then-Minister of Sport and Recreation Trevor Mallard
Then-Minister of Sport and Recreation Trevor Mallard Photo credit: Newshub.

In June, Emirates became the only airline to offer daily, year-round flights to Bali from Auckland.

Emirates also operate a daily A380 flight between Christchurch and Dubai via Sydney. 

But it's not just passengers who have been filling the giant aircraft - 85,000 tonnes of cargo has come into or out of Auckland via Emirates SkyCargo.

Emirates first flight arriving in Auckland in 2003.
Emirates first flight arriving in Auckland in 2003. Photo credit: Newshub.

One of their most precious deliveries was in 2017, when they flew 'New Zealand Aotearoa'  Emirates Team New Zealand's race boat to Bermuda for the America's Cup.

Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards named Emirates as 'International Airline of the Year', as well as the 'Best of the Best' for 2017 - with the highest customer satisfaction rating of any other company in New Zealand.