SHARJAH, 5th October, 2022 (WAM) — Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) is launching an array of activities to mark the UAE’s Civil Aviation Day and the anniversary of the Imperial Airways aircraft’s first landing at the region’s first airport “Sharjah Air Station – Al Mahatta” in 1932 that served as a connecting bridge between the East and the West.
To commentate the special occasion, visitors are offered free entry on 5th October and can view the new exhibition titled “Sharjah Air Station: The First Landing 90 Years Ago”, which runs for a period of one year starting 3rd October to shine light on the region’s first airport that connected the United Kingdom with India and Australia.
Manal Ataya, Director-General of SMA, opened the exhibition in the presence of Dr. Webber Ndoro, Director-General of The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) and Dr. Zaki Aslan, Director ICCROM-Sharjah.
“The exhibition is a great way to further appreciate the history of the first airport in the UAE and Sharjah Emirate’s early realisation of the importance of cross-cultural dialogue and mobility by opening the first airport in the region,” said Manal Ataya.
“The book ‘Sharjah Air Station: between East and West’ by H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, reflects the significance of the airport as His Highness documents the history of the station’s establishment, highlighting historic facts and agreements that paved the way for setting up the first civilian landing ground in the Trucial States in Sharjah that became home for the first air station between the East and the West.”
The exhibition, which celebrates nine decades of evolution and progress in the country’s aviation scene, narrates the story of establishing Sharjah Air Station between 1932 and 1933 illustrated with historic photographs including images taken by Wing Commander Harold Allsopp, who served with the British Royal Air Force between 1932 – 1956.
The exhibition tells the story of the first landing, the first route along the Arabian coast and the last flight along the Persian coast, a timeline of the negotiations between the British and local Rulers for the coastal route and the back ground of international commercial air travel.
The original draft agreement between the Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr II and the British government will be displayed as part of the exhibition which SMA organises to highlight the Emirate’s growth and the UAE’s significant achievements in aviation.
An archival film is also on view to recount the details around the landing of the HP42 airliner, called Hanno in Sharjah on October 5, carrying four passengers.
Making a stop as part of a trip from India to the UK, Hanno’s landing being a significant turning point in the Emirate’s and the country’s aviation history, was welcomed by a visit from Sheikh Sultan Bin Saqr Al Qasimi II and a crowd of people from Sharjah.
A number of educational activities organised by SMA that will run for a period of one month include the “Envisioning Al Mahatta: Past and Present” virtual seminar that will be held on 26th October to discuss the transformative cultural experiences of the past, present and the future of UAE’s first air station that aim to bring coherence and strengthen the research and information for its equitable and sustainable future preservation.