Last updated: 07:00 PM ET, Wed June 08 2016

Emirates Signs on as Premiere Partner for Dubai’s Expo 2020

Airlines & Airports | Paul Thompson | June 08, 2016

Emirates Signs on as Premiere Partner for Dubai’s Expo 2020

Photo by Paul Thompson

Emirates Airline, one of the world’s fastest-growing international airlines, has signed on as the Official Airline Partner for Expo 2020, to be hosted by Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The gathering is expected to host 25 million visitors, with exhibitions from 180 countries. Dubai was awarded the Expo from the Bureau of International Expositions in 2013.

The Expo will be held from October 2020 to April 2021 — thankfully during Dubai’s cooler season. However, when I was in Dubai last November for their international air show, temperatures still hit the 90s daily. The event site will cover nearly 1.7 square miles and feature themed zones, covering mobility, sustainability, opportunity and more. Each zone will also feature a souq (shopping area) an entertainment venue and a specialized Theme Pavilion.

READ MORE: How an Airline Put Dubai on the Map

Dubai’s ruler, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum (also Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline) welcomed the partnership, saying: “(Dubai is) our home. It’s Emirates Airline’s base city. And I’m sure that Emirates and many other companies also will benefit out of it. And we are right at a key point, connecting the world, and I think having the Expo in Dubai, and with Emirates, we’ll be able to connect to six continents.”

Dubai is the hub of Emirates Airline, who owns the world’s largest and fastest-growing fleets of wide body jets, including the Boeing 777 and the Airbus A380. The Expo site itself is near the Dubai South Airport, officially known as Al Maktoum International Airport. See what they did there? It is located 23 miles southwest of downtown Dubai — almost halfway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Though Dubai South is small, it will eventually grow into a sprawling hub with six planned runways. Emirates will work with the Expo to develop a legacy plan for use of the site after the event ends, due to its proximity to their future hub.

This top-level partnership grants exclusive rights and benefits for Emirates Airline and other businesses within the Emirates Group, including branding and marketing rights, the ability to leverage signature events such as Youth Connect — a forum for young people across the GCC region — held in the run-up to Expo 2020, and the opportunity to have a pavilion at the Expo, giving the airline visibility on par with the Expo’s national participants. Emirates is known for being a bit over-the-top when it comes to presenting itself, (witness the installation of a flight simulator at the Dubai Mall), so things may get interesting.

READ MORE: Dubai Building Structure Taller Than World's Tallest Building

The airline is also known for being an industry leader in innovation, making them a good fit with the Expo. Emirates was the first airline to introduce audio/video on demand in all seats in all classes, and the first to introduce in-flight calling on a commercial aircraft.

Construction of the Expo is already well underway. Much of the road infrastructure is already in place, and the area near Dubai South Airport is a bustling construction zone. 

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