Emirates Reveals How It Pulled Off The A380 Burj Khalifa Stunt

Emirates has released a video showing how it filmed its latest advert featuring the Airbus A380 flying around the Burj Khalifa. The stunt, filmed in October 2021, features a skydiver portraying a flight attendant standing on top of the world’s tallest building. An Airbus A380 then flies behind her as she holds a series of cards.

While some airlines will keep their publicity relatively low-key, others have been known to go all out with sponsorships and stunts. One of the latter airlines is Dubai’s Emirates. Alongside many sports team and event sponsorships, the airline has recently taken its advertising ideas to great heights – literally. https://youtu.be/AAR1j6UfoG0

How did they do it?

How did they do it? Like most Emirates projects that include potentially risky flights, the trip started on a drawing board. The airline then coordinated with various companies and agencies across the UAE to obtain the necessary permissions to complete the flight.

Every aspect of the mission was planned, from where the flight would go to potential wind impact and when the stunt would occur. Emirates coordinated with Dubai’s ATC facilities to ensure that the airspace needed was closed to other traffic, giving one less thing to worry about. The airline also timed the stunt outside of peak Dubai International Airport flight hours to ensure that it didn’t impact its paying passengers.

Before the pilots flying past the world’s tallest building even got their hands on the controls, the flight had been choreographed and rehearsed in the simulator many times. After all, it’s far easier to do something you’ve practiced, and if something goes wrong in the simulator, lives aren’t at risk.

The day of the flight

Once all the pre-flight training and necessary permissions and co-operations had been completed, it was time to film the stunt. On October 13th and 14th, the A380 flew around Dubai for several hours. In total, it flew past the Burj Khalifa 11 times to ensure that the camera crew caught the exact shot needed.

The jet flew past the Burj Khalifa at its exact height, 2,700 feet, to ensure that the plane would be right behind the stunt woman. While it looks pretty close, size can be deceptive. According to the airline, the giant A380 flew around half a mile away from the tower.

While circling the tower, the giant plane was flying at 145 knots (269kmph, 167mph). This is far slower than the aircraft typically flies, except when about to land. According to Smithsonian Magazine, an Airbus A380 typically crosses the end of the runway at 140 knots before touching down at around 130 knots, depending on its landing weight. Meanwhile, Emirates noted that the aircraft has a typical cruise speed of about 480 knots.

Promoting Expo 2020

The whole campaign is intended to entice people to visit the World Expo currently taking place to the south of Dubai near the Dubai World Central Airport (DWC). It seems that the stunt was successful in generating publicity. After all, we’re writing about it.

Commenting on the action, Emirates Chairman, Sir Tim Clark, remarked,

“Now at the halfway mark of its six-month run, the excitement and momentum around Expo 2020 Dubai remain strong. Our latest campaign boldly carries the Expo message and invites people to come and experience what is truly the world’s greatest show.”