The World tour, which includes Dubai sights such as the Palm Jumeirah. Sarah Dea / The National
The World tour, which includes Dubai sights such as the Palm Jumeirah. Sarah Dea / The National

A tour of Dubai from the air with Seawings

Recently I jumped at the chance to see Dubai from on high, aboard a Cessna 208 Caravan sea plane. I’ll never look at it the same way again.

The 40 minutes we spent flying over some of the city’s most iconic sights, including The World islands, the Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa, Port Rashid and the mind-boggling interlocking and overlapped loops of the Defence Roundabout between Al Wasl and Satwa, marked a highlight in my almost-seven years in the UAE.

In case you’ve started taking it for granted, this trip will assure you Dubai is stunningly beautiful as a whole and fascinating in its astonishing parts, even the grotty ones. It was so impressive, I almost couldn’t wait to get back down on the ground to dig into it again.

The World Journey is part of a collection of luxury experiences being offered in Dubai and Abu Dhabi by the seaplane tour operator Seawings, which launched in 2007.

Our adventure started when we boarded a boat from the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah hotel, travelling for about 10 minutes to a tiny dock on The World. This is not an area that is open to boats, so I felt pretty fortunate to be seeing all those sandy mounds up close for the first time, rather than in a Google Earth image.

I’m quite a nervous flier of late, so I fretted as the pilot fired up the plane’s Pratt & Whitney turboprop engine. Yet, while I definitely did not expect to prefer the experience over a runway, that’s exactly what happened.

It turns out landing and taking off on water, which requires a minimum distance of 900 metres each way, feels both choppy and sturdy at the same time. I wish all my flights could feel so safe.

The trip itself was lovely, very peaceful in the brilliant sunshine, with the time speeding by as we all gaped at the stunning views below. I did feel a wave of nausea several times as the plane made some much sharper turns than I am accustomed to, but they passed quickly.

It seems our capable and jovial pilot Stephane Landry, who also oversees flight safety for Seawings and hails from the Magdalene Islands in Quebec, Canada, has somehow managed to land himself the perfect job. “I’m from an island, so for me, it was always sea and boats,” he says.

Not surprisingly, Seawings ­luxury tours such as The World Journey appeal to the rising number of celebrity visitors to the UAE for whom money is no object. Among the power players Seawings has flown are Jeffrey Katzenberg, the founder and chief executive of DreamWorks Animation, The Imitation Game actor Matthew Beard and the Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor.

While the Seawings Lifestyle experience is five-star all the way, it’s not out-of-reach for the rest of us, either. Whether you are new to the city or have been living here for years, it’s well worth it to skip a weekend away or a few pricey dinners to get high in the sky. Not only will you tick an item off the bucket list, you’ll walk away with something else that is very valuable: perspective.


Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now


Name: DarDoc
Based: Abu Dhabi
Founders: Samer Masri, Keswin Suresh
Sector: HealthTech
Total funding: $800,000
Investors: Flat6Labs, angel investors + Incubated by Hub71, Abu Dhabi's Department of Health
Number of employees: 10

Company profile

Name: Cashew
Started: 2020
Founders: Ibtissam Ouassif and Ammar Afif
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: FinTech
Funding size: $10m
Investors: Mashreq, others

What is the FNC?

The Federal National Council is one of five federal authorities established by the UAE constitution. It held its first session on December 2, 1972, a year to the day after Federation.
It has 40 members, eight of whom are women. The members represent the UAE population through each of the emirates. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have eight members each, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah six, and Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain have four.
They bring Emirati issues to the council for debate and put those concerns to ministers summoned for questioning. 
The FNC’s main functions include passing, amending or rejecting federal draft laws, discussing international treaties and agreements, and offering recommendations on general subjects raised during sessions.
Federal draft laws must first pass through the FNC for recommendations when members can amend the laws to suit the needs of citizens. The draft laws are then forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration and approval. 
Since 2006, half of the members have been elected by UAE citizens to serve four-year terms and the other half are appointed by the Ruler’s Courts of the seven emirates.
In the 2015 elections, 78 of the 252 candidates were women. Women also represented 48 per cent of all voters and 67 per cent of the voters were under the age of 40.


Producer: Maddock Films, Jio Movies
Director: Amar Kaushik
Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurana, Abhishek Banerjee
Rating: 3.5


Display: 6.7” flexible Amoled, 2412 x 1080, 394ppi, 120Hz, Corning Gorilla Glass 5

Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro, 4nm, octa-core

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256GB

Platform: Android 14, Nothing OS 2.5

Main camera: Dual 50MP main, f/1.88 + 50MP ultra-wide, f/2.2; OIS, EIS, auto-focus, ultra XDR, night mode

Main camera video: 4K @ 30fps, full-HD @ 60fps; slo-mo full-HD at 120fps

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.2

Battery: 5000mAh; 50% in 30 mins w/ 45w charger

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Google Pay)

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock


Durability: IP54, limited protection from water/dust

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Black, milk, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2a), USB-C-to-USB-C cable, pre-applied screen protector, SIM tray ejector tool

Price (UAE): Dh1,199 (8GB/128GB) / Dh1,399 (12GB/256GB)


Company: Olive Gaea
Started: 2021
Co-founders: Vivek Tripathi, Jessica Scopacasa
Based: Dubai
Licensed by: Dubai World Trade Centre
Industry: Climate-Tech, Sustainability
Funding: $1.1 million
Investors: Cornerstone Venture Partners and angel investors
Number of employees: 8


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others


Director Ashutosh Gowariker

Produced Ashutosh Gowariker, Rohit Shelatkar, Reliance Entertainment

Cast Arjun Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Kriti Sanon, Mohnish Behl, Padmini Kolhapure, Zeenat Aman

Rating 3 /stars

All or Nothing

Amazon Prime

Four stars

The specs

Engine: 2.3-litre, turbo four-cylinder

Transmission: 10-speed auto

Power: 300hp

Torque: 420Nm

Price: Dh189,900

On sale: now

Globalization and its Discontents Revisited
Joseph E. Stiglitz
W. W. Norton & Company

Fifa Club World Cup:

When: December 6-16
Where: Games to take place at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi and Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain
Defending champions: Real Madrid

Indoor cricket in a nutshell

Indoor Cricket World Cup – Sep 16-20, Insportz, Dubai

16 Indoor cricket matches are 16 overs per side

8 There are eight players per team

9 There have been nine Indoor Cricket World Cups for men. Australia have won every one.

5 Five runs are deducted from the score when a wickets falls

4 Batsmen bat in pairs, facing four overs per partnership

Scoring In indoor cricket, runs are scored by way of both physical and bonus runs. Physical runs are scored by both batsmen completing a run from one crease to the other. Bonus runs are scored when the ball hits a net in different zones, but only when at least one physical run is score.


A Front net, behind the striker and wicketkeeper: 0 runs

B Side nets, between the striker and halfway down the pitch: 1 run

C Side nets between halfway and the bowlers end: 2 runs

D Back net: 4 runs on the bounce, 6 runs on the full


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

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