When Emirates’ first Airbus A380 was towed into the airline’s Dubai engineering hangar for its first heavy maintenance check in early June, the aircraft had clocked up some impressive numbers.
Since it was delivered to Emirates in July 2008, A6-EDA had flown about 20 million kilometres, conducted 3,000 takeoffs and transported roughly 1.2 million passengers before its first 3C-Check.
During the 55-day check, engineers stripped away 1,600 parts including cabin interiors such as seats and galleys, and removed the four engines each weighing 6.7 tonnes for a thorough inspection and major overhaul.
Emirates vice president of base engineering Colin Disspain says the harsh climate of the airline’s Dubai hub, with its fierce heat and sandy conditions, highlighted the importance of the 3C-Check.
“Here in Dubai, we operate aircraft under some of the world’s toughest conditions,” Disspain said in a statement on Friday.
“This requires Emirates to increase maintenance standards to our specific situation. For example, parts often need to be exchanged instead of just cleaned in order to achieve our high level of quality and precision.
“The aircraft has been fully overhauled during its 3C-Check. We return it in a pristine condition, just as it originally left the factory. It’s like having a brand new A380 again.”
A6-EDA returned to service on July 31, operating flight EK434 from Dubai to Auckland via Brisbane.
There were 55 Airbus A380s in the Emirates fleet, with scores more on order. The carrier is the world’s largest operator of the double-decker aircraft and currently flies the A380 to 31 destinations on five continents.
The airline said its A380 fleet had carried 27.5 million revenue passengers and made about 68,800 trips spanning 405 million kilometres since A6-EDA entered the fleet about six and a half years ago and flew the inaugural route from Dubai to New York City’s JFK Airport.
Emirates president Tim Clark said recently the airline planned to retire its A380s after the aircraft reached 12 to 15 years in service.
“When Emirates is done with it in 12-15 years, we’ll put them in the desert. We’ll cut them up,” Clark told the Leeham News and Comment website on October 19.
“For me, we buy those airplanes for the life that’s prescribed for them in the business model. Once that’s over, it’s over, so we have no worries about getting rid of them.”
Emirates has released a vide of the heavy maintenance check, which can be found here.