Dubai’s flagship carrier Emirates Airline says it does not need government help to repay $1.7bn of outstanding debt.

Since it launched in 1986, the airline, owned by Dubai government, says it has never relied on state support.

Emirates has 10 loans and bonds worth a total of $1.7bn which are due to mature by 2013, according to Standard and Poor’s.

The airline has more than 151 aircraft on order at a cost of more than $50bn.

“At present we have 141 aircraft in our fleet and another 151 on order. Gross debt is $9.9bn and net debt is $8.2bn. Our debt is paid over a long term,” says Tim Clark, president of Emirates.

Clark says the airline is using a combination of bond and sukuk (Islamic bond) issuance, aircraft financing, and leasing arrangements to fund the order.

In September, Emirates announced half-year profits of $205m for the first six months of the financial year ending 30 September. Clark says he expects profits to increase in the second half of the company’s financial year which runs until the end of March.

In 2009, the airline launched routes including Amsterdam and Tokyo and increased flights to Middle East destinations such as Amman and Doha (MEED 6:12:09).