Emirates route map puts Dubai at the centre of the world

Emirates route map puts Dubai at the centre of the world

Emirates has persistently plugged Dubai as being the crossroads of the modern world when it comes to air travel, and it's found a novel way to bolster that claim.

Here's a look at a clever redrawing of the airline's route map from the conventional flat map (typically a cylindrical-based Mercator or Miller projection, or so the cartography boffins tell us) to one which puts Dubai almost at the centre of the world. 

By peeling and then unfolding a world map into these slices (a helpful AusBT reader advies this is a 'Waterman Butterfly projection) Emirates also gets to underscore its oft-used bullet point that over  a third of the world’s population lives within a four-hour flight from Dubai, while two-thirds are within an 8-hour flight.

"The strategic location of Dubai makes it possible for us to serve almost 90% of the world’s population with non-stop flights," Emirates president Tim Clark has said in the past

"Our aim has always been to connect travellers from around the world to Dubai, and other destinations with just a single stop via our hub".

Whether travellers will spend much time stoping over at that hub remains to be seen.

Dubai continues to pour money into tourist attractions and infrastructure, with the aim of making it the world’s most visited city – a task for which it has to exceed 16 million visitors a year in order to to push London off the top of the tourist ladder.

The challenge is to make Dubai something other than what's been called "a must-see but somewhere you only need to visit once."

Also read: Can Dubai beat London to become the world's most visited city?

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David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • bryce05


    20 Oct, 2014 10:58 am

    When you look at an ordinary map Dubai is in the middle, so I don't know what the point of this bizarre one is.

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  • TheRealBabushka


    20 Oct, 2014 11:44 am

    Middle from who's perspective?

    It was no coincidence that the Chinese Emperors in the past referred to their country as the Middle Kingdom.

    For any airline with a fairly distributed network around the globe, their hub ports would technically be the centre.

    Question is, will Dubai ever be the centre for Finance, Power and Culture? Will spending billions and billions of dollar allow you to be the centre? Or is influence a lot more than just money? This cuts to the heart of the human experience and the lenses by which civilisation views itself.

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  • Hugo


    20 Oct, 2014 01:29 pm

    It's not that bizarre, it does a pretty good job of indicating the great-circle distance from Dubai to everywhere else. It shows things that Mercator projections tend to hide, like the fact that Dubai to Boston is almost a thousand miles less than Dubai to Sydney.

    TheRealBabushka: Yes, I am sure they will be extremely successful in turning themselves into an economic and cultural power once the natural resources have run out. Much like Nauru, which has remained the world's richest country long after they ran out of phosph... wait, what?

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  • reeves35


    20 Oct, 2014 12:44 pm

    That map is terribly confusing and hard to recognise as a world map.  Many traditional world maps have Europe in the middle which would seem to be fine is accentuating the great location of EK's DXB hub given EK do not fly over the Pacific.  This style is just confusing.

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  • Str8Talking


    20 Oct, 2014 05:44 pm

    A statistic about being within X distance of Y% of the world population is meaningless if most of that population cannot afford to board a plane.  And Emirates are not exactly making it affordable for them to do so.  Similarly, they can reach 90% of the world directly, but with such a tiny population in the U.A.E. to utilise the direct flights, it invariably means that most travellers will be connecting!  Good luck to them.

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  • yukon


    21 Oct, 2014 09:24 pm

    That map is not a Goode Homolosine projection, I'm pretty sure that it's a Waterman Butterfly. http://xkcd.com/977/

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  • David Flynn


    21 Oct, 2014 11:11 pm

    Indeed it is, thanks for sharing Yukon - my local map boffin obviously not as boffin-esque as he thought!

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18 Jul, 2019 01:20 pm


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