Dubai: Flying Beyond Oil

What a thrill it is to be in Dubai. As if an indoor ski resort (in the middle of the desert) doesn’t scream extravagance, how about the two palm island sequences? We might as well throw in the artificially made islands that look like the world. The conclusion I’ve gathered from visiting Dubai was that whatever extravagance you want, you can find it at Dubai. After all, Dubai is only second to London in terms of the most number of international brands represented. I’ve lived in Los Angeles and New York, but never have I seen so many luxury sports cars in a 3 day span. It’s easy to think Dubai is just a bubble that is living off the oil reserves of Abu Dhabi, however in our visit, we saw that Dubai has so much more than just oil (read: it actually doesn’t have that much oil left anyways.)

One such success can be seen through its diversification into the airline industry. What Emirates Airlines has been able to do since it started as a tiny 3 rented aircraft airline in 1985 is simply astounding. Story is Sheik Maktoum called Sir Flanagan, an aviation expert, to start an airline within 1 year and somehow, this little airline came took flight with just 3 leased aircrafts from Pakistan airlines going to 3 destination. Today, Emirates covers 150 routes and supports 50 million passengers a year! The only thing I wish they would do differently is to have more award partners so I can use my points more often!


Standing over a quarter of a mile high at the Burj Khalifa observation deck, it’s amazing to see what this 44 year old country has been able to achieve. It’s hard to believe that this shinning city used to be a small town with just two high-rises and now, Dubai is an international icon for no longer just oil, but for finance, real estate, aviation, logistics, and tourism. I wonder what’s in store for tomorrow.


-Corey Lian ’16

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