UAE marks aviation industry milestones

The Emirates commemorates Civil Aviation Day on October 5

Eighty-six years ago, the first plane to carry passengers to UAE landed in Sharjah with four passengers. That fateful day, when the pioneering journey was made, is now commemorated annually as UAE Civil Aviation Day.

Sultan Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, established the anniversary in 2014, saying the government sought to recognise “the concerted efforts by the aviation industry in the past decades that resulted in remarkable progress and cutting-edge development."

Much has changed since that first plane landed in Sharjah. The country’s aviation industry has grown exponentially with Dubai alone handling 88.2 million passengers last year.

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In Abu Dhabi, passenger numbers at the international airport have grown from just over 9 million in 2008 to 23.4 million last year and serves 90 destinations in 53 countries.

That growth was spurred on with the establishment of two local carriers.

Emirates began operations in 1985 with just two aircraft and today, the Dubai carrier commands a fleet of more than 265 planes.

In 2003, Etihad was established following a royal decree. Its passenger numbers have grown from 18.5 million a year from 6.8 million in 2008 and has 120 planes flying travellers across the globe.

On Friday, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, took to Twitter to comment on the evolution of the country’s aviation industry.

"Today marks #UAE_Civil_Aviation_Day,” he said. “The vision of our leaders has made a major industry player and we continue to collectively build our competitive edge. I'm confident our aviation sector will continue to leave a lasting mark benefiting UAE’s future generations."