Whether sailing through the skies or flying across the waves, Emirates’ pilots and SailGP athletes challenge the very laws of aerodynamics to reach new heights. To understand the different elements that power each other’s flight, Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, and Driver of the Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team and First Officer Alexander Warburton, an Emirates A380 pilot, put their extensive experience to the test and swapped machines.

Sir Ben visited Emirates Flight Training Academy to learn the basics on a state-of-the-art simulator, under the instruction of Petrus de Vries, Chief Flying Instructor, before taking to the skies in a Diamond DA42-VI and flying over Dubai’s iconic landmarks.

Far below, in the middle of the ocean, First Officer Alexander boarded the cutting-edge F50 racing catamaran, along with five members of Emirates Great Britain SailGP team to experience the unadulterated thrill of flying on water.

While this activation focused on celebrating a shared love of flying, both Sir Ben and Emirates are committed to developing the next generation. The Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team’s Purpose Partner is the climate education platform, Protect Our Future, which uses the inspiration of athletes and sport to empower young people with the knowledge to take climate action and drive behavioural change. Protect Our Future provides world-class climate education resources for 5 to 18-year-olds that is free to use and available globally. The platform also enables schools and young people to measure and track their own climate impact and progress, enabling schools to become climate hubs. In Dubai, Emirates GBR welcomed 160 local students to its base for Protect Our Future lessons, where they were taught about climate change and how they can take action and use their voice to inspire others. The students were also given an exclusive tour of other SailGP Teams bases to see the sustainability actions each Team is taking.

The Emirates Flight Training Academy, with its cutting-edge technologies, is one of the most advanced pilot training programmes in the world, equipping future aviators with the very best flight experience as they take to the skies. With over 300 cadets currently enrolled, and a further 162 who graduated and are now flying for Emirates, the airline is committed to developing the country’s pipeline of talented and experienced pilots.

Ahead of the adrenaline-fuelled Emirates Dubai SailGP weekend, Emirates and SailGP performed a celebratory flypast, both in air and on water. As Chief Flying Instructor Petrus de Vries piloted the state-of-the-art Diamond DA42-VI training aircraft through the clouds, the Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team flew the F50 racing catamaran across the waves, saluting the aircraft and acknowledging their shared love for flying.

Sir Ben and Hannah Mills OBE, two of the most successful Olympic sailors of all time and members of the Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team also visited Emirates Headquarters. Greeted by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates airline and Group, the two world-class athletes inspired employees with their perspectives on the road to Olympic glory, what shapes a winner’s mentality, tips to overcoming setbacks, and the importance of building a successful team.

Emirates has been a supporter of sailing for almost two decades, identifying similar values, ambitions and drive between airline and athletes. In 2023, Emirates further reinforced its passion for the sport with major sponsorship deals, including a three-year partnership with Great Britain SailGP Team which will see Emirates serve as the team’s first-ever Title Sponsor.