Emirates Airlines, with its headquarters in Dubai, is the largest airline in the Middle East. More importantly, it consistently earns some of the highest customer service rankings in the industry. Its configuration of the Airbus A-380 takes luxury to a new level, from suites with a shower and a dedicated lounge in first and business class to more than 1,200 channels of entertainment in coach.

In the past few years Dubai has done everything it can to establish itself as a world-class city with the tallest building in the world (the stunning Burj Khalifa), the only indoor ski slope in the Middle East (Ski Dubai), one of the most luxurious hotels in the world (the Burj Al Arab), and the largest man-made islands in the world, the incredible Palm Islands.

But all has not gone well. The tallest building was originally named the Burj Dubai, but with the collapse of the world economy in 2008, Dubai needed to get emergency funding from Abu Dhabi to complete the project. The building was renamed the Burj Khalifa as a show of appreciation to Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates who helped arrange the financing. At the same time, many of the homes on the Palm Islands sit empty. Things have not gone as well as they had hoped.

Plainly, they “think big” in Dubai, and Emirates has followed that theme with its recent aircraft purchases that serve notice that it intends to be a major player in long-distance air travel.

In the past month Emirates has ordered 32 Airbus A-380s, this is in addition to the 58 it already has on order for a total of 90. No other airline has placed this kind of order. Emirates’ Airbus order is almost 3 times the number of A-380s currently in service worldwide (31).The order represents 40% of all A-380 orders

In addition, Emirates ordered 30 Boeing 777-300 aircraft; this is in addition to the 71 it had previously ordered, 53 of which are now in service. These two orders will give Emirates 101 777s, and 90 A-380s. These purchases may give Emirates the most modern fleet in the air.

An airline does not make this type of purchase so that it can expand service from Dubai to Kuwait City. It appears that Emirates’ goal is to dominate long-distance air travel across the world, with Dubai as a hub With new aircraft and outstanding customer service, Emirates may become the carrier of choice for many routes. (Are you traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Frankfurt? Fly Emirates through Dubai. Need to go from New York to Sydney? Fly Emirates through Dubai.) They have recently added or will soon add service to several cities in Europe, India, South Africa, and South America, including Prague, Amsterdam, Durban, Milan, Los Angeles, Cape Town, and São Paulo. With new aircraft and great service, why would you not want to fly Emirates?

But it goes beyond simply linking major cities. They not only want you to fly through Dubai, they want you to spend a few days there on your layover; their website is even offering hotel discounts to passengers who do a layover in Dubai.

Emirates is thinking big. Let’s hope they are more successful than some of Dubai’s recent big projects.