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When Emirates Airline, the flag carrier of Dubai, launched its new flight simulator attraction in the British capital this summer, airline president Tim Clark and London Mayor Boris Johnson stood shoulder to shoulder in praising the £4 million ($6.2 million) investment.
Clark said the Emirates Aviation Experience, which includes two Airbus A380 and two Boeing 777 simulators, should go "some way in demonstrating just how dedicated we are to this captivating city". Boris, deploying his trademark patter, called the east London attraction a "veritable Aladdin's cave of technological wizardry and gizmos that will give … a real insight into the wonders of flying".
The two men had every reason to be cordial – Emirates gains brand exposure with the facility, while London gains another world-class attraction – but it was not long before Clark broached more contentious issues. Unlike Boris, he supports expansion of London's capacity-constrained Heathrow Airport, and he was happy to explain his stance to the assembled journalists...