Four leading airlines from the United Arab Emirates have undertaken a spectacular formation flight to mark the nation’s 47th National Day and to commemorate its founding father HH Sheikh Zayed.
Emirates, Etihad, Flydubai and Air Arabia took part in the historic formation flypast today alongside the UAE Air Force aerobatic team Al Fursan, as part of 2018’s “Year of Zayed” celebrations. Over 11 aircraft participated, including four airliners: an Air Arabia Airbus A320, a Flydubai Boeing 737 Max 8 and an Airbus A380 each from Etihad Airways and Emirates. Seven Al Fursan Aermacchi MB-339NAT trainers also took part.
The aircraft flew a carefully orchestrated “stair-step” formation after departing Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International airport. The flypast was led by the Flydubai 737 at an altitude of 1,000ft (305m) and a speed of 210kt, with the following aircraft stepped upwards at 300ft intervals. The seven Al Fursan MB-339s flew an arrow formation, releasing smoke trails in the colours of the UAE flag.
The formation flew across the coastline of the UAE from Ras Al Khaimah, continuing to Um Al Quwain and Ajman, and then passed Dubai’s Palm before crossing the Abu Dhabi Corniche and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.