Emirates reveal diamond-encrusted plane

Social media explodes with excitement and confusion over the airline’s crystal stunt

Dubai is the home of all things glamorous and lavish, so it came as no surprise when its national airline appeared to reveal a diamond-encrusted plane in time for Christmas.

Aviation giants Emirates appeared to give one of their Boeing 777 aircrafts a sparkling makeover by covering it entirely in diamonds. The airline released a photo on Twitter with the sparkling plane, as users questioned whether the photo was, in fact, real and whether the added weight would likely imbalance it.

It turned out to be the work of artist Sara Shakeel, who had created the image in photo-editing software. Shakeel captioned the photo, ‘Presenting the Bling 777’ and was given an upgrade by Emirates after catching their eye with the photo. The self-described ‘Original Crystal Artist’ photo-manipulates all kinds of images to add crystals and has half a million followers on Instagram.

The reactions to the “Bling 777” were even curated in a Twitter moment, but this isn’t the first time that Emirates have pranked their following on social media. On April Fools Day this year, the airline jokingly announced their new Boeing 777X SkyLounge, which promised the aircraft would be made of glass. Virgin Australia also got in on the fun too, promising the world’s first in-flight Spin Class, with their fake cycling studio apparently giving customers Frequent Flyer Points for every kilometre they cycle.

Emirates are currently the fourth biggest airline in the world in terms of scheduled passenger-kilometres flown, and are a big brand all over the world, sponsoring the likes of Real Madrid, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and the Emirates Air Line cable car over the River Thames in London.