At 829.8 metres (2,722 feet) tall, the towering Burj Khalifa has dominated the Dubai skyline and held on to the title of the world’s tallest building for more than 12-years. And in that time, the iconic skyscraper has seen some pretty audacious stunts… But were any as hairraising as the crazy stunt that Emirates Airline just managed to pull off?
At first look, you would be forgiven for thinking that Emirates’ latest marketing campaign was a bit of CGI wizardry for it would seem impossible to actually pull off the trick in real life. But how wrong you would be.
Yes, Emirates really did put a flight attendant on top of the Burj Khalifa to celebrate the reopening on travel to and from the United Kingdom. Dressed in the classic Emirates cabin crew uniform, skydiver and stuntwoman Nicole Smith-Ludvik ascended to the top of the skyscraper in scenes that not even Tom Cruise would try to pull off.
The campaign was brought to life by the helicopter and drone video company Choppershoot and produced by Prime Productions AMG and TECS Event Services who confirmed this wasn’t just staged in a ‘green screen’ studio.
“Being part of such a special project – not only for the fact that we were trusted to help bring this to life (yes, this is very very real), but also what it means for so many families who have been separated from their families between here in Dubai and the UK,” wrote TECS Event services in a social media post.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Smith-Ludvik said it was one of the “most amazing and exciting stunts I’ve ever done”.
The whole purpose of the stunt was to celebrate a decision by the United Kingdom to reopen travel with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The United Kingdom was one of Emirates’ most important markets before the pandemic but in January the British government threw the UAE onto its travel ‘Red List’. Since then, only British citizens have been allowed to travel from Dubai to the UK and even then they must quarantine in a hotel for 10-days.
By downgrading the UAE to an ‘amber list’ country, anyone can now travel and Emirates is already starting to reap the rewards.
“Since the UK’s announcement last evening, we’ve seen a huge surge in queries from customers desperate to travel to see their families, planning their kids’ return for the new school term, as well as their postponed business or holiday travel,” commented the airline’s chief operating officer Adnan Kazim.
“Emirates is reviewing our operations to various points in the UK and any service restart will be announced in the usual fashion,” Kazim continued.
Dubai was targeted with the Red List ban because government ministers were unhappy that so many Brits were choosing to holiday in the emirate in the midst of a pandemic. But now that restrictions are being lifted, pressure has been exerted to reopen international travel.
It’s pretty clear that Emirates is delighted with that decision and looking forward to welcoming back British passengers.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.