The Dubai-based carrier made the announcement on the first day of the Dubai Airshow on 11 November, signing contracts for 143 aircraft. The deal comprises orders for 120 Airbus A350s, a further 11 A380 Superjumbos, and 12 Boeing 777-300ERs, worth a total of $34.9 billion at list prices.

Letters of intent on eight of the A380s were signed earlier this year, with Emirates confirming those orders and placing orders for a further three. The airline now has 58 of the planes on order.

Sheikh Ahmed al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates, said the that the company had rejected the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in favour of the Airbus A350 because the US-built aircraft was “too small”.

The Sheikh was dismissive of recent press speculation regarding a possible flotation of the airline in the immediate future and stressed that the company had plentiful sources of finance available without going to the market.

“If we go for an IPO it will not be because of a lack of cash. I am sure it will happen eventually but I do not know when,” he said.

Emirates total order book now stands at 246 aircraft, all wide-bodied, and worth over $60 billion at list prices.