In the early 1960, Dubai Airport was the main airport for the Trucial States. Sharjah airfield was restricted to RAF flights, and Abu Dhabi's Airport comprised a sand runway and a barrusti hut which held the communications equipment. To see if it was clear to land, the duty controller had to look out of the door.

There was little traffic. Gulf Aviation Herons made a daily round trip of the Gulf, taking in Kuwait, Doha, Bahrein, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. Kuwait Airways Viscounts provided a faster link to Kuwait, and connected with Middle East Airlines flights to Europe.

The Airport was operated and maintained by International Aeradio Ltd (IAL) on behalf of the Emir of Dubai. IAL was a civilian organisation that had been formed after WWII to replace the RAF personnel who ran a host of far-flung airfields during the war.

In Dubai, IAL were responsible for the Dubai Telephone Exchange, the radio equipment for Cable & Wireless, and also acted as agent for UK communications equipment manufacturers. There was a General Manager, "Jimmy" Jewel, and IAL employed both European ex-patriots and local staff.

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