Sky’s the limit: UAE airlines propel tourism to unprecedented heights

by Tanvir Awan
Published: Updated:
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As the UAE welcomes 2024 with open skies, the nation’s aviation industry is not just soaring; it’s breaking records and setting new standards for excellence.

The tourism sector in the UAE is experiencing a remarkable resurgence, fueled by impressive performance indicators across all facets of the industry.

UAE airlines touch new heights of success

Against the backdrop of a bustling calendar of global events and major activities hosted by the country this year, UAE airlines stand out as true champions, playing a pivotal role in driving the nation’s aviation success story.

Emirates Airlines

In the realm of national airlines, Emirates Airlines has been a beacon of reliability and efficiency. Operating an impressive 164,400 flights to approximately 150 destinations in the past year alone, the airline accounted for a staggering 20 percent of the total flights operated by airlines in the Middle East and Africa, reaching an impressive 819,150 flights.

Emirates Airlines solidified its standing among the top 10 airlines in terms of punctuality in the region, according to the monthly report issued by “Cirium,” a specialized institution in airline and airport data.


In a momentous achievement for flydubai, the Dubai-based carrier has been crowned “Airline of the Year” at the Aviator Middle East Awards, formerly known as The Aviation Business Middle East Awards.

The esteemed award was accepted by Daniel Kerrison, Senior Vice President of Inflight Operations at flydubai, during a ceremony held in Dubai. The event, attended by key figures in the travel and aviation industry, marked a significant recognition of flydubai’s outstanding contributions to the region’s aviation landscape.

This accolade, voted on by industry experts, applauds airlines that exhibit an unparalleled commitment to passenger satisfaction, safety, innovation, and operational excellence in the Middle East.

flydubai stood out for its remarkable achievements in setting industry standards through exceptional inflight experiences, efficient operations, and substantial contributions to enhancing the Middle East’s global connectivity, thereby propelling the region’s economic growth.

flydubai’s recognition as ‘Airline of the Year’ underscores not only its commitment to excellence but also its pivotal role in shaping and elevating the aviation experience in the Middle East.

Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways, not to be outdone, is spreading its wings in 2024 with the launch of new destinations. Boston becomes its fourth station in the United States, with four weekly flights starting from March 31.

Additionally, Etihad Airways will connect with the vibrant Kenyan capital, Nairobi, from May 1. The airline has also expanded its footprint in the Indian subcontinent with two new destinations, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, bringing its total stations in India to an impressive 10.

Etihad Airways has ambitious plans to increase the number of flights to key destinations, including Cairo, Colombo, Islamabad, and the Maldives.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, a relative newcomer to the UAE aviation scene, is making waves of its own. Anticipating a remarkable 30 percent growth in both the number of passengers and operational capacity in 2024, the airline aims to transport around 4 million passengers this year.

Building on an exceptional performance in the previous year, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi witnessed a record growth of over 135 percent in both passenger numbers and operational capacity, reaching a notable milestone of 3 million passengers.

Air Arabia

In a significant milestone for Air Arabia, the pioneer and largest low-cost carrier operator in the Middle East and North Africa, the airline has been recognized with the prestigious “Budget Airline of the Year” award at the 2023 edition of The Aviator Middle East Awards.

The Aviator Middle East Awards serve as a platform to celebrate and acknowledge the noteworthy achievements and contributions of key players within the aviation sector across the region.

This esteemed accolade comes after a thorough evaluation, where Air Arabia showcased outstanding capabilities in customer service, operational efficiency, and innovative cost-saving measures.

The ‘Budget Airline of the Year’ award solidifies Air Arabia’s unwavering commitment to delivering affordable yet high-quality travel experiences for its passengers.

This recognition stands as a testament to the airline’s continuous dedication to excellence, reinforcing its position as a leader in the low-cost carrier segment in the Middle East and North Africa.


In the dynamic landscape of the UAE’s aviation sector, the achievements of Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, flydubai and Air Arabia are not just commendable, they are indicative of a thriving industry.

As the tourism sector gears up for an exceptional season in 2024, the UAE’s airlines are not only connecting destinations but also elevating the nation’s status as a global aviation hub. With their unwavering commitment to excellence, these airlines are undoubtedly driving the UAE’s aviation success story to new heights, creating a legacy of achievement that extends far beyond the clouds.

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