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

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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 Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based airline now operates the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s.

The tally includes 101 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 166 Boeing 777 airliners. That means roughly 12% of all Boeing 777s produced over the past 25 years currently fly wearing Emirates livery.

And the people tasked with keeping these planes operating safely and effectively is Emirates Engineering. It’s the airline’s maintenance arm.

Emirates engineering handles everything from routine line maintenance to comprehensive checks that require the disassembly of the airplane. They also do engine maintenance, cabin modifications, and aircraft upgrade projects.

Emirates even has a paint shop where it can do custom liveries and decals.

It’s an organization that has proved to be immensely successful and 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 headquartered in a complex of hangars, engineering shops, and office building at the northern edge of Dubai Airport. The $350 million facilities opened for business in 2006.

Recently, Business Insider had the pleasure of a taking a tour of Emirates Engineering facility.


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

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Screenshot via Google

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

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Our first stop, the Aircraft Appearance Centre. This is more than a paint shop. Here, workers are able to assess the condition of the aircraft’s exterior. cleaning it, paint it, and apply any additional decals.

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

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

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Inside the maintenance hangars…

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

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

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

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

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

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

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

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

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Next up is another Boeing 777. This time it’s a -300ER series that’s being prepped for its return to a leasing company.

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

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

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

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

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

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

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

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

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

The double-decker is massive!

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

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

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

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

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

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

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Finally, the last plane in the service hangar is a 777-300ER that is having its landing gear changed.

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

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

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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.

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Emirates has a new dedicated engine maintenance facility that’s located roughly 25 miles away from the Dubai Airport. As a result, this engine shop is less busy these days.

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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider