Inside the $350 million Emirates complex designed to fix the Airbus A380 superjumbo

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

  • Emirates has the largest fleet of Boeing 777s and Airbus A380s in the world.
  • Emirates Engineering is tasked with keeping the fleet operating safely and effectively.
  • Here’s a look inside its facilities at Dubai International Airport.

Over the past three decades, Emirates has become a global aviation powerhouse. The airline, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, now operates the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s.

The tally includes 102 Airbus A380s, five times as many as the next largest operator of the superjumbo. And Emirates has committed to as many as 77 more of the planes.

It also operates more than 160 Boeing 777 airliners, meaning roughly 12% of all Boeing 777s produced over the past 25 years currently fly wearing Emirates livery.

The people tasked with keeping these planes operating safely and effectively are Emirates Engineering, the airline’s maintenance arm.

Emirates Engineering handles things like routine line or engine maintenance, comprehensive checks that require the disassembly of the airplane, cabin modifications, and aircraft-upgrade projects. Emirates even has a paint shop where it can do custom liveries and decals.

The successful organization is built on a team-focused culture of “when in doubt, ask for help,” and an understanding of the importance of preventative maintenance.

Emirates Engineering is in a complex of hangars, engineering shops, and an office building at the northern edge of Dubai’s airport. The $350 million facility opened for business in 2006.

Business Insider recently took a tour of the Emirates Engineering facility:


Emirates Engineering is based in a 136-acre complex of administrative buildings and hangars on the northern edge of Dubai International Airport.

source
Google Maps

The facility’s eight hangars help make up one of the largest freestanding structures in the world.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Our first stop: the Aircraft Appearance Center. This is more than a paint shop — here, workers assess the condition of the aircraft’s exterior, clean it, paint it, and apply any additional decals.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Here’s an Airbus A380 waiting for a new coat of paint.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Inside the maintenance hangars …

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

… we come across one of the 10 remaining Boeing 777-200LRs in the Emirates fleet.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Its cabin has been stripped down to make way for the new interior Emirates debuted in November at the Dubai Air Show.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Here’s a pair of new business-class seats in a crate, waiting to be installed.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Here are some of the old seats that have been removed.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Next up is another Boeing 777, a 300ER series being prepped for its return to a leasing company.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Emirates is redoing the interior of the aircraft based on the lease agreement.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The seats stay the same, but the Emirates carpet has to go — hence the new blue carpet in the cabin.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Here’s a GE90 turbofan engine from a Boeing 777 sitting in the middle of the hangar.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The next plane we come across is this A380, which no other organization in the world has more experience maintaining. Emirates Engineering plans to leverage this by making itself the main service provider for airlines around the world that operate the plane.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The double-decker is massive!

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

It’s in the shop to have an engine pylon replaced.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

To get around the complex, workers use tricycles like these.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Here’s another A380. You can’t fully appreciate how massive these planes are until you see them in person.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The last plane in the service hangar is a 777-300ER that’s having its landing gear changed.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The last stop of the tour was the facility’s engine shop.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Here’s a Rolls-Royce Trent 900 from an Airbus A380. Emirates’ A380 fleet has traditionally used Engine Alliance GP7200 engines, but the airline decided to switch over to Rolls-Royce a couple of years ago.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Emirates has a new dedicated engine-maintenance facility roughly 25 miles from Dubai’s airport. As a result, this engine shop is less busy these days.

source
Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider