Emirates has officially opened its Aviation Experience attraction in Greenwich, London in a bid to "put something back" into the city.
Unveiling the exhibition, which is located immediately adjacent to the North Greenwich terminal of the Emirates-sponsored cross-Thames cable car, the carrier's president Tim Clark said he hoped it would contribute to London's post-Olympic legacy.
"We wanted to put back something into London and enrich the city's experience. What better way to do that than through aviation?" he says.
The Aviation Experience features a number of interactive exhibits, including four flight simulators - two Boeing 777 units and a pair of A380 machines - an A380 cockpit and cinema, all housed inside a full-size mock-up of an A380 nose section. Alongside this is information on the physics of flight, a Lego model of a Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engine and a cafe.
The flight simulators are configured to allow take-offs and landings from either the airline's Dubai hub or its London Heathrow base. However, Clark says he was unsure which of the capital's airports to load into the simulator given the uncertainty over runway expansion in the southeast of England. "We didn't know where we'd be in 10 or 20 years, the estuary or Gatwick," he jokes.
Helping to launch the experience was Mayor of London Boris Johnson. He described the exhibition as "sensational" and said it will ensure that people learn that aviation is a "massive and growing" sector of the UK economy.
"The future of our trade and communications is very much going to be in the air," he adds.
He called on the UK government to make a quick decision on increasing runway capacity around London. "Britain can't afford to hang around," he says.