Emirates celebrated the UAE’s milestone achievements in space exploration with a special one-off flight on the carrier’s A380 aircraft.
The airline conducted the tribute flight in partnership with Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) in Dubai.
The flight hosted special guests of honor Dr Sultan AlNeyadi, who recently returned from a six-month mission on the International Space Station (ISS), and Hazzaa AlMansoori, the first Emirati astronaut in space.
Prior to departure, AlNeyadi and AlMansoori visited Emirates Headquarters and were welcomed by Emirates’ President Sir Tim Clark and Chief Operating Officer Adel Al Redha.
Emirates employees were also given the opportunity to join a Q&A session, followed by a meet and greet with the two astronauts, who are considered national heroes in the UAE.
The Emirates A380 livery had a specially designed astronaut decal which commemorates the UAE’s vision to build its capabilities in space exploration and aerospace innovation.
Flight EK 2641 was commanded by Captain Abdalla Abdelrahman Al Hammadi and First Officer Alex Van Der Veer.
The flight departed Dubai International Airport (DXB) at 12:00 local time, and flew across all seven Emirates.
The celebrated astronauts were joined on board by Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General of MBRSC, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, Adel Al Redha, and crew members of Expedition 69 along with around 200 employees from MBRSC.
“We are honoured to celebrate the successful mission and return of Dr Sultan AlNeyadi, as well as the ground-breaking work of MBRSC to propel the UAE’s flourishing space sector. Whether it’s soaring through the skies or rocketing into the atmosphere, Emirates pilots and MBRSC astronauts share a passion for discovery and are a source of innovation and inspiration for all,” Adel Al Redha, Emirates COO said in a press statement.