One of two posts today showing the Departures Boards at Dubai International from back in late January 2015. Dubai's remarkable development as a global city is inextricable to the incredible growth of its airport. While the unprecedented burgeoning of hometown Emirates airline has been foundational in this expansion, and in 2014 Dubai overtook London Heathrow to become the most important airport in the world by international passengers. However this is not solely due to Emirates, but also to a myriad of intercontinental and regional air carriers, from its global rivals to exotic and rare birds from Dubai's vast aviation hinterland of South and Central Asia and Africa.
Here, in a window of less than three hours of activity at Terminal 1, Dubai International demonstrates its role as a global hub. Arch-rivals Virgin and British Airways both depart for Heathrow at the exact same time. Regional kin such as Saudia, Gulf Air, Oman Air and Qatar Airways are off to their hubs. Two Iranian carriers depart for Persian cities: State carrier Iranair to coastal Bandar Abbas, and an A340 sports the green swan of Mahan Air on its way to the capital. At 11:25, Air Astana leaves for Almaty. Further east, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and IndiGo are off to seven Indian cities, and PIA departs for Peshawar at 11:40.
The African offerings are perhaps even more interesting: TAAG to Luanda, Arik to Abuja, Tunisair to Tunis. Or more specifically, they were more interesting: remarkably, all three operations were scrapped in later 2015, in the face of relentless competition from Emirates and economic struggles across that continent.