EMIRATES GEARS UP TO TEST A380 IN DUBAI
DUBAI, U.A.E., July 31, 2007 – Emirates, the world’s fastest-growing airline, is marking its first step in the gradual build-up towards becoming the world’s largest operator of the A380 super-jumbo starting August 15th. Customer of 55 of the 173 aircraft ordered and committed thus far, the Dubai-based airline is gearing up to jointly conduct hot weather operability tests with Airbus on the aircraft in Dubai.
The tests are part of an extensive campaign by Emirates to prepare for the A380’s smooth entry into the airline’s fleet in 2008 beginning with hot weather trials and followed by technical training later in the year, which also add to the extreme weather testing conducted by Airbus in the Middle East and Africa last year.
The MSN007 aircraft will undergo airport compatibility checks, on-ground and in-flight service checks and ground handling and maintenance procedure tests during its seven-day Dubai stay.
Two flights flown both by Airbus test pilots as well as experienced and trained Emirates pilots will take to the Dubai skies on August 17th and 18th, operating on back-to-back schedules with a two-hour turnaround period.
“Having worked closely with Airbus in the design and development of the A380, we are delighted to be collaborating with them once again to test the ground handling aspects of the aircraft and its operational performance in normal and extreme conditions,” said Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Executive Vice President, Engineering and Operations.
“Between now and the final date of delivery, there will be more opportunities to test the aircraft’s systems including the unique cabin interiors. It is our aim to continue working on perfecting the operational procedures – on the ground and in the air – to ensure 100 percent readiness when Emirates’ first A380 enters service next year.”
To simulate normal operating conditions, 517 passengers – representing Emirates staff from across the network and selected randomly from over 11,000 applications to fly on the test flights – will undergo all pre-flight formalities. These include check-in through self-service kiosks and boarding via double-decker bridges at fixed gates, which are already in place to ensure A380-comptability. To test tarmac boarding, passengers will board through remote gates that require up to ten buses carrying 50 passengers each to reach the aircraft.
Emirates has strengthened its pre-flight operations to handle the larger volumes of about 40 percent more passengers per flight. When in the skies, the passengers will be attended to by 22 cabin crew and served a complete refreshment service.
During the tight turnaround interval, cleaning crew will test their operations and Emirates Flight Catering will load food trolleys using a special A380 hi-loader while cargo and baggage loading will be simulated and ground support equipment will be deployed – all in addition to the deplaning of the existing passengers and boarding of the subsequent batch.
The campaign will also afford opportunities for Emirates Engineering to become familiar with the nuts and bolts of the aircraft. Engineering staff, along with Airbus personnel, will conduct routine maintenance of the aircraft, including main wheel and nose wheel changes, engine cowling opening and cabin systems checks.
A critical component of the testing program is the full-docking trials in the new $8.4 million-dollar Emirates Engineering Centre. The A380-compatible facility can house eighteen A380 aircraft – one in each of the eight hangars, nine in the dedicated parking bays outside the hangars and one in the engine run up facility. The hangars’ dimensions are aligned to the A380 facilities constructed by Airbus at its headquarters in Toulouse.
Since its launch in 1985, Emirates Airline has received more than 300 international awards in recognition of its efforts to provide unsurpassed levels of customer service. It serves 92 cities around the globe, including three daily flights from New York’s JFK to Dubai, with a young and technologically advanced fleet of aircraft that are equipped with industry-leading comforts in the air. Operations on Emirates from New York connect America to the world through the airline’s route network with extensive connections to the Far East, Australia and Africa. On December 3, 2007, Emirates will launch thrice weekly nonstop service from Houston to Dubai. For more information, visit www.emirates.com/usa.
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Elizabeth Gaerlan / Sharon Harper