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Dubai man creates new globetrotting record

Portuguese resident circumnavigates the world on scheduled flights in just 55 hours and 47 minutes – the fastest so far in human history

Image Credit: Supplied
Gil Azevado says he had little time between flights to take pictures of the places he visited.

Dubai: A Dubai resident has clinched a new world record by flying around the world in just 55 hours and 47 minutes.

Gil Azevedo, 39, who works for a bank in Dubai, recently made it to the Guinness Book of World Records after circumnavigating the world on scheduled flights in the shortest period of time.

Azevado told XPRESS he undertook his five-flight tour across the world from February 12 to 14 this year, travelling from Shanghai to Auckland, Buenos Aires, Paris and Moscow before returning to Shanghai.

He said he wanted to complete the trip before he turned 40 in March. “I have been intrigued by Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel of 1873 - Around the World in 80 Days - and often wondered how long it would take for someone to travel around the world today with all the technological advancements that we have. The more I thought about it, the more determined I was to create a world record.”

He said the previous record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world through scheduled flights was held by Brother Michael Barlett of UK in November 2016 when he clocked the tour in 57 hours and 27 minutes, outdoing his own earlier record of 58 hours and 44 minutes.

Opposite sides

Starting point. Gil Azevado at the Shanghai international airport

Azevado said the Guinness World Record required that he stopped in two cities on opposite sides of the globe. “I began to explore the combination of flights and cities and zeroed in on Shanghai and Buenos Aires. I took five flights and flew different airlines.” While he took Emirates from Dubai to Shanghai and back, the record-breaking flights were undertaken on Air New Zealand, Air France and Aeroflot.

The journey was not without its share of challenges. “To begin with, the approvals for my travels came just two days before I was scheduled to leave. So I was not sure I could go till the last minute,” said Azevado.

The tight schedule also left him with little time to complete formalities during his travel.

“I had had to comply with a lot of requirements like taking photographs and videos and getting written statements from witnesses. I could not sleep for more than two hours during the tour,” recalled Azevado.

The weather too played spoilsport when he approached Moscow. “I was flying to Moscow from Paris when I ran into a snowstorm. I could not land until the storm passed and this meant a one-hour delay almost at a time when every minute mattered. But thankfully, all went well and I was able to create the world record.”

Azevado said the lifetime experience taught him valuable lessons. “I experienced vastly different cultures in a short period of time. It made me realise how people from different parts of the world react differently to the same situations, some easygoing and casual about things while others are more uptight and formal in their approach.”

Azevado, who has been in Dubai for six years, said both he and his wife loved to travel as it is the best form of education.


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