Dubai – MENA Herald: Expo 2020 Dubai today announced Emirates Airline as its Official Airline Partner. The partnership agreement, which was signed by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, and Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation and Director General Bureau Expo Dubai 2020, links Emirates, one of the world’s largest international airlines, with the Expo which will be one of the most-visited global mega events of 2020.

As Expo 2020’s first Premier Partner, Emirates Airline will play a key role in bringing visitors to the event. Under the terms of the partnership, Emirates will be a licensed ticket reseller. Emirates’ strong global brand and marketing efforts, and its extensive route network to over 150 destinations means that it is uniquely well placed to support Expo 2020 Dubai in attracting 25 million visitors, 70% of whom are expected to travel internationally to visit the Expo. The size and duration of the mega event means that Expo 2020 will be one of the most-visited global events that year. In comparison, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games attracted in the region of 700,000 international visitors.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed welcomed the partnership, saying: “We believe the Expo will contribute greatly towards future thinking and progress, and also strengthen the UAE’s role as a global hub that brings together diverse people, institutions, and ideas from around the world, for the betterment of society. Emirates has played an important part in Dubai’s transformation into an international centre for commerce and tourism, and a globally-connected host city for a truly global event like the Expo. The airline has been an early supporter of Dubai’s successful bid to host the Expo, will now partner with Expo 2020 to bring this event to Dubai, and to build a lasting legacy for the UAE and the entire region.”

HE Al Hashimy commented: “Emirates Airline carried over 50 million passengers last year. It is a global super-connector, and has always been forward-thinking and innovative in its outlook, leading the way in offering greater opportunity and mobility to people. It is a natural partner for Expo 2020 Dubai – an event which will bring the world together here in Dubai to celebrate the power of connections to create the innovation and inspiration that will shape our future – as we step onto the global scene.”

A natural partnership for Expo 2020 Dubai

The Premier Partnership with Emirates Airline is the highest of three tiers of partnerships that Expo will be entering into. The agreement grants exclusive rights and benefits for Emirates Airline and other businesses within the Emirates Group, including branding and marketing rights, the ability to leverage signature events such as Youth Connect – a forum for young people across the GCC region – held in the run-up to Expo 2020, and the opportunity to have a pavilion at the Expo, giving the Airline visibility on a par with the Expo’s national participants.

In addition, Expo 2020 Dubai and Emirates Airline are exploring opportunities on the site in the post-event phase, as part of securing a lasting cultural, and economic legacy for the Expo. The site is located in Dubai South, close to the Al Maktoum International Airport, where Emirates will move its operations to later in the 2020s.

Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ recognises that generating sustainable solutions to global problems demands collaboration across cultures, nations and regions. It is a reflection of the modern world: connected as never before, and changing with great speed. Expo, its participants and visitors will together explore innovation, inclusion, and human and social development in the areas of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability – Expo’s three subthemes.

Emirates Airline is widely recognised as a leading innovator in the aviation sector. Last year Emirates launched the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) – Emirates Silicon Valley Innovation Lab, and a Data Science Lab collaboration with the University of Oxford, to extend its own in-house capability to develop, test, and apply new technologies and innovation across the Group.

The airline operates a technologically-advanced fleet of aircraft, offering its customers industry-leading services and experiences. It was the first airline to introduce audio/video on demand in all seats in all classes, and the first to introduce in flight calling on a commercial aircraft. It is the world’s largest operator of A380 aircraft, and the low average age of its fleet means that it is one of the most environmentally efficient airlines in the world.

Expo 2020 Dubai’s partnerships programme

As an integral part of preparations for the global mega event, Expo 2020 is developing a number of commercial partnerships with leading global companies, such as Emirates Airline, in key areas including aviation, technology, finance, shipping and logistics, telecommunications and travel and tourism. Partners will play an integral role in the development of the first mega-event to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region; working with Expo 2020 Dubai to create a collaborative and inclusive global platform and shape a long lasting legacy. Partner companies will benefit from global brand exposure, access to regional markets, and the chance to connect with millions of visitors.

Expo’s partnership programme will comprise three tiers of partnerships: Premier Partners, Official Partners and Official Providers. Premier Partners will benefit from the highest level of rights and benefits and are currently being discussed. Official Partners and Official Providers will be sought in 2017 and beyond.

Expo and the youth opportunity

Almost half of the population in the Middle East and North Africa is under the age of thirty, and young people – often referred to as millennials by marketing companies – are a critical target audience for Expo 2020 Dubai. Research increasingly shows that young people are much more likely to identify with brands that have an ethical dimension. Expo 2020, which explores the power of connections to create opportunity, promote mobility and encourage sustainability, will allow businesses to demonstrate their positive role in society – through their research and development, their products and technologies, and the hard work and expertise of their people.