The leasing arm of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise is acquiring the new freight aircraft in a sale and leaseback deal, allowing Emirates to carry on using them.
DAE is gaining 10 Boeing 747-8Fs and eight Boeing 777 freighters, bringing its current fleet to 49 aircraft.
The company has 200 planes on order for delivery throughout the next decade and has said it will continue to look at sale and leaseback arrangements to buy some $5bn worth of aircraft until its orders from the manufacturers begin to arrive.
Emirates officials say the deal will enable the carrier to maximise the use of its fleet. Sale and leaseback agreements are becoming increasingly common at a time when airlines are seeking to better manage their costs as a result of rising fuel prices.