The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is today celebrating its 47th National Day – commemorating the anniversary of the founding of the UAE. It’s a big event for the country and one that brings the seven emirates together like nothing else. The emirates – which are made up of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain – were formed in 1971 after the British abandoned the Sheikhdoms that now make up the UAE. Ras al-Khaimah wasn’t originally a member of the UAE but joined the union a year later.
During those short 47 years, the UAE has tranformed itself not only into a major business and tourism hub but also an ‘aerostate’ – where the aviation industry and airlines companies are vital drivers for the economy and wellbeing of the country. The Dubai-based Emirates airline has become synonymous with the prosperity of the country, while the budget carrier Air Arabia has helped put Sharjah on the map.
What’s truly remarkable is just how much of an aviation hub the UAE has become. Emirates has become one of the largest airlines in the world – and by some measures is the largest airline by international passenger numbers. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad may be financially struggling but it’s easy to forget how much the airline has achieved in the 15-short years the carrier has existed.
In recent years, the Dubai government has looked to capitalise on the low-cost sector with the creation of flydubai, and Air Arabia has expanded across the Gulf with bases in several countries including Egypt.
The competition between these airlines, just like the competition between the emirates shouldn’t be underestimated but for UAE National Day, the four carrier’s will be coming together for a very symbolic flypast. Announcing what should be a spectacular event, a spokesperson for Emirates explained:
“Emirates, Etihad, flydubai and Air Arabia will be performing a flypast tomorrow (Sunday 2nd December) over the UAE as a centrepiece performance to celebrate the UAE’s 47th National Day and the Year of Zayed.”
“All four UAE carriers will be taking their flagship aircraft to the skies from 1pm (local time) and will be flying with the Al Fursan aerobatic display team.”
The flypast will be flying across the following emirates at approximately the below times:
- Ras Al Khaimah – 13:40hrs
- Umm Al Quwain – 13:48hrs
- Sharjah Corniche – 13:52hrs
- Dubai – Jumeira 1 – 13:55hrs
- Dubai – Palm Jumeirah / Atlantis- 13:58hrs
- Abu Dhabi -Ghantoot – 14:03hrs
- Abu Dhabi – Louvre – 14:12hrs
- Abu Dhabi Corniche – 14:15hrs
- Abu Dhabi – Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque- 14:25hrs
This year’s National Day is particularly special after the UAE’s rulers announced 2018 would be marked as ‘The Year of Zayed’ – the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the founding father of the United Arab Emirates and is credited with bringing unity to the region and laying out the roadmap to creating the country’s prosperity.
Both Emirates and Etihad have been flying special liveries to celebrate the Year of Zayed that coincides with the centennial of the birth of the UAE’s founding father.
Speaking on National Day, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the UAE is entering the “Fourth Industrial Revolution and the age of artificial intelligence” – “armed not with money and oil, but rather with educated and qualified Emiratis who possess the skills of the time.”