Dubai through the eyes of Emirates’ Captain Julian Quao


Growing up, my dream was to have an opportunity to soar across the sky flying the aircraft of a well-respected airline company. I took the phrase “working on a dream” so seriously that my entire existence revolved around being able to cruise at 39,000 feet one day, dressed in a starched double-breasted blazer with the accompanying winged badge and my pilot hat. Those were the days when I was growing up in Ghana as the son of an aeronautical engineer.

My dad worked for Ghana Airways. He was in charge of research and development, testing, parts assembly and the maintenance of aircrafts. He also studied the effects of aircraft on the environment, evaluating new aircraft technologies and fuel efficiency of the Ghana Airways planes. I think my dad was my motivation in deciding to become a pilot.

Today, the dream is a reality. Just a couple of weeks ago, I clocked ten years of working with Emirates in Dubai as a pilot and now captain. I’ve lived in Dubai for a decade now.  Dubai has gained worldwide recognition for its pioneering spirit. For some people, it is a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of regular everyday life. To others, it presents the opportunity for career progress. But to me, it is home.

When I first got the offer to work with Emirates as a pilot, I was thrilled to commence a new career journey in a progressive, contemporary and cosmopolitan city like Dubai.

Despite having some logistics concerns and adjustment worries, I sooner realised my fears were unfounded. We had barely relocated into our new home when I realized my family had settled in perfectly. My children have made the best of friends here, they attend a great school, my wife found her dream job. Moving to Dubai has been a blessing not just for me but my entire family. It introduced us to a new level of lifestyle– affordable yet quality healthcare, secure living environment, visionary technological advancements and several others.

To say I love my job will be the understatement of the year. Outside of my family and the few hobbies I have, nothing gives me more joy than flying Emirates aircraft. Each time I sit in the cockpit, I feel like a newbie pilot fresh out of flying school, with all the giddiness to boot. It’s like falling in love or reconnecting with a long lost best friend every single flight for the past decade; nothing comes close to this.

Making the decision to join Emirates was a fairly simple one. Emirates was the best way forward in terms of career progression and opportunities such as upgrading to captain. And one of the best parts about working for Emirates, for me, is the advanced roster system that gives me the flexibility to enjoy equal time flying and pursuing my career as well as spending adequate time with my family.

I love flying with Emirates and cannot imagine myself flying with any other airline. Flying with Emirates offers me more than150 destinations to fly to across the globe. Apart from the destinations, I greatly enjoy flying the well-maintained, large fleet of aircraft and the multicultural workforce I get to work with each day. I’ve made some great connections through working with Emirates and these people have graduated from colleagues and friends to become family.

I especially enjoy flying to Ghana because it allows me the opportunity to catch up with old friends and some extended family members. I always take time out to visit new places springing up across the country. Every time I come back home, I hear about a new place I have to visit. I visited Aqua Safari in Ada on one of these vacations and it has become one of my favourite places in Ghana. The nice and serene environment allows me to relax and unwind from my otherwise busy schedules. I am able to engage in water sports, hike and enjoy delicious foods I have not had in a while.

Having my family with me in Dubai has always allowed me to see Dubai as my second home. It is the place I build my family, create memories, share laughter and celebrate life events. I love travelling the world and I particularly enjoy the fact that as an Emirates captain, I get to travel to over 80 countries. Nevertheless, I always look forward to coming back home to Dubai, because Dubai is home for me and it will always be, just as Ghana is.

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