Eight Qantas Airbus A380s will be repainted in the airline’s new livery by Emirates Engineering.
Beginning in March 2018 the aircraft will be stripped and repainted at the Emirates Aircraft Appearance Centre in Dubai, which Emirates says is the largest aircraft painting facility in the world owned by an airline. In 2017 that facility repainted no fewer than 38 aircraft, as well as installing special decals on Emirates A380 and 777 aircraft.
“As the largest operator of Airbus A380s with over 100 aircraft in our fleet, Emirates Engineering has built strong expertise over the years in the maintenance and repainting of this aircraft type,” Mohammed Jaffar Nasser, Emirates senior vice president of engineering maintenance, said in a statement on Monday.
“Our goal is to promote Dubai as a centre of excellence for Airbus A380 maintenance. We have the knowledge, infrastructure, competence and the confidence to achieve this goal.”
Qantas and Emirates Airline already have an extensive commercial alliance in place, while Emirates says the new aircraft painting agreement “heralds the start of collaboration in the areas of maintenance and engineering”.
The new deal will also see Emirates replace the landing gear on one Qantas A380 in February.
Emirates says it is the “most experienced” A380 maintenance, repair and overhaul provider in the world, having completed 110 C-Checks on the aircraft to date. Currently Qantas sends its A380s to Lufthansa Technik in the Philippines for heavy maintenance checks.
Interestingly the A380s will be repainted in Dubai just as Qantas withdraws from operating there with its own aircraft.
Currently Qantas flies twice daily to Dubai en route to London with flights originating in Melbourne and Sydney. But in late March Qantas’s Melbourne-London flights will switch to operating via Perth with the Boeing 787-9, while Sydney-London flights will return to operating via Singapore.
Qantas announced its new livery in October 2016.
“Updating branding on aircraft will be sequenced with scheduled re-paints, to be completed in time for the airline’s centenary in 2020,” Qantas said at the time.
To date A330-300s have been repainted in Victorville, California, while some 737-800s have been repainted in Seletar, Singapore, Fokker 100s have been repainted in Seletar and with Douglas Aerospace in Wagga Wagga, and some Dash 8 Q300s and Q400s have been repainted by Flying Colours in Townsville.
With Qantas operating 12 A380s, it is not clear where the remaining four aircraft will be repainted.