Emirates Engineers Testing The Panel Removals On The Largest Known Fleet Retrofit Project

Emirates will be upgrading the entire interior cabins of its 120 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft. The multi-billion dollar project officially commences in November and is managed by Emirates’ engineering team.

The airline says nearly 4,000 brand new Premium Economy seats will be installed, 728 First Class suites refurbished and over 5,000 Business Class seats upgraded to a new style and design. As part of the upgrade work, carpets and stairs will also be upgraded and cabin interior panels refreshed with new tones and design motifs, including the iconic ghaf trees which are native to the UAE.

The target is to completely retrofit four Emirates aircraft from start to finish every month and once the carrier’s 67 earmarked A380s are refreshed and back in service, 53 of Emirates’ 777 aircraft will undergo their facelift.

A world first

According to Emirates, it is the first carrier to handle a retrofit of this magnitude in-house, and there’s no blueprint for such an undertaking. The airline’s engineering teams have been planning and testing extensively to establish and streamline processes and identify and address any possible snags.

Emirates says trials have already begun on the airline’s A380. As part of this, engineers took each cabin apart piece by piece and logged every step. Every action was tested, timed and mapped out from removing seats and panelling to bolts and screws.

Engineers discovered several unexpected solutions during the trials; for example, existing food catering trucks could be easily repurposed to move parts destined for refurbishment from the aircraft to the workshop for their refresh, as these vehicles had doors of the right width and offer sufficient space.

Emirates’ new Premium Economy cabin class is currently available to Emirates customers travelling on A380 routes to London, Paris and Sydney. More customers will be able to experience the airline’s new Premium Economy cabins starting from year end, as the retrofit programme picks up momentum.

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