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Dubai carrier Emirates protects and prepares its wide-body fleet

Dubai carrier Emirates protects and prepares its wide-body fleet

Currently around 75 Emirates aircraft, both passenger and freighter, are taking to the skies, carrying people for repatriation and cargo for essential reasons

Emirates Engineering, a division of the Dubai carrier Emirates, is readying its wide-body fleet to take to the skies, it announced on April 30.

Ahmed Safa, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president Engineering said: “Emirates moves to a different drumbeat – one where the highest standards are absolutely fundamental to our entire organisational rhythm. Everything we do ladders up to ensuring the best customer experience and people feeling safe and reassured while flying with us.

“That philosophy also extends to our Engineering team and how we maintain and secure our multibillion dollar fleet with the world’s largest number of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s. We don’t just cover our engines, but have a comprehensive aircraft parking and reactivation programme that strictly follows manufacturers’ guidelines and maintenance manuals, and we have enhanced standards and protocols of our own.

“We also have the enviable challenge of a full wide-body fleet – 115 A380s and 155 B777s – and the most sophisticated systems and avionics in the industry. While a narrow-body aircraft only requires around 3-4 employees working for eight hours or so to cover it, our aircraft need 4-6 employees working a 12-hour shift. And taking extra precautions while maintaining social distancing adds its own interesting twist to the proceedings.”

The parked fleet
Of the 270 aircraft in its fleet, Emirates had initially parked and wrapped up 218 aircraft – 117 at Dubai World Central and 101 at Dubai International airport – that involved more than 15,500 man-hours of work.

Now around 75 Emirates aircraft, both passenger and freighter, are taking to the skies, carrying people for repatriation and cargo for essential reasons.

These continue to be maintained as per standard operating procedures.

Routinely, Emirates covers all aircraft that are taken out of operations for more than 48 hours.

Previously, Emirates has had to cover a significant part of its fleet during the runway closures at Dubai International airport, and during the 2010 volcanic ash cloud disaster that partially grounded the fleet.

Securing the fleet and avionics systems
All apertures and openings through which sand, dirt, water, birds and insects can enter an aircraft are wrapped up and made watertight. That includes engines and air data probes – such as pitot, static, temperature, angle of attack sensors – engine intakes and exhausts, and APU intakes and exhausts.

The interiors – whether cabin monuments, seats or inflight entertainment equipment – are also protected from the elements.

Potable water systems and aircraft fuel tanks are preserved, while engine and APU systems are protected.

The process also involves the greasing, cleaning and preservation of landing gear and flight control systems. The team turns off all cockpit switches, disconnects batteries, and installs control lever locks and window blinds.

Routine checks
After the protection and preservation works are finished, the team completes periodic checks at seven-, 15- and 30-day intervals across the fleet, including simple, walk-around inspections as well as complex checks.

Reactivating the fleet
“We need around 4-5 dedicated employees and at least 18-24 hours to put one of our aircraft back into service. Our customers and our employees can’t wait to see our majestic A380s and our powerful 777s grace the skies again, operating our normal schedules and delighting travellers worldwide,” added Safa.

On April 22, Emirates confirmed that it would resume regular operations “as soon as conditions allow”.

Read: Dubai’s Emirates says will resume services ‘as soon as conditions allow’

All cabin crew, boarding agents and ground staff, who come in direct contact with passengers, will wear personal protective equipment (PPE).


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