Video: Ticket, boarding pass of first Emirates flight from Dubai to Karachi
The airline marks its 34th anniversary this week.
UAE national Abdulrahman M. Aqil Al Zarouni could remember his first plane ride on October 25, 1985, as if it took place yesterday. After all, it was a historic journey, the first-ever Emirates flight that flew to Karachi, Pakistan.
Then 27 years old, Al Zarouni paid Dh1,533 to be one of the 133 passengers of the flight. But neither he nor anyone on that plane could've imagined that flight EK600 would serve as the Dubai flag carrier's takeoff to becoming the world's No. 1 airline.
"It was my first air journey and I spent almost one-third of my salary to support my country and the airline," Al Zarouni told Khaleej Times.
"I spent a good four days in Karachi at my uncle's residence in the Defence Housing Authority. I travelled many times to Karachi and other destinations across the globe but the joy of that first flight is remarkable."
Al Zarouni, now 61, has kept his boarding pass for 34 years, but this time he wants to personally hand it to the airline's chairman as a gift ahead of Emirates' upcoming anniversary and as a memento that can be kept at the Emirates Airline Museum on Terminal 3.
"I want to present this to Sheikh Ahmed as a tribute for his leadership and wisdom to make Emirates the world's No. 1 airline," he said.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, chairman of Emirates airline and chief executive of the Emirates Group, was on board the inaugural flight along with other top dignitaries.
"The flight was full, and many Emiratis like me bought a ticket to support Dubai's first airline," said Al Zarouni, who paid rich tribute to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for his visionary leadership.
"I value the cooperation of Pakistan International Airlines for lending its two aircraft to launch Emirates. Today, we are No. 1 and the credit goes to our visionary leaders," he added.
When Emirates flew its first routes out of Dubai in October 1985, it had only two aircraft, a leased Boeing 737 and an Airbus 300 B4. Today, with a fleet of more than 265 aircraft, it flies to over 155 destinations in more than 80 countries around the world.
Al Zarouni, who served at the Dubai Health Authority, proudly displays a certificate given to him by Emirates for being among the first passengers on its commercial flight.
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