Emirates gears up for domestic A380 test

Emirates is
marking its first step in the gradual build-up towards becoming the largest
operator of the A380 super-jumbo starting August 15th.Customer of 55 of the 173
aircraft ordered and committed thus far, the Dubai-based airline is gearing up to
jointly conduct hot weather operability tests with Airbus on the aircraft in Dubai.

The tests are part of an extensive campaign by Emirates to prepare for the A380’s
smooth entry into the airline’s fleet in 2008 beginning with hot weather trials and
followed by technical training later in the year, which also add to the extreme
weather testing conducted by Airbus in the Middle East and Africa last year.

The MSN007 aircraft will undergo airport compatibility checks, on-ground and
in-flight service checks and ground handling and maintenance procedure tests during
its seven-day Dubai stay.

Two flights flown both by Airbus test pilots as well as experienced and trained
Emirates pilots will take to the Dubai skies on August 17th and 18th, operating on
back-to-back schedules with a two-hour turnaround period.

“Having worked closely with Airbus in the design and development of the A380, we are
delighted to be collaborating with them once again to test the ground handling
aspects of the aircraft and its operational performance in normal and extreme
conditions,” said Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Executive Vice President, Engineering and
Operations.

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“Between now and the final date of delivery, there will be more opportunities to
test the aircraft’s systems including the unique cabin interiors. It is our aim to
continue working on perfecting the operational procedures - on the ground and in the
air - to ensure 100 percent readiness when Emirates’ first A380 enters service next
year.”

To simulate normal operating conditions, 517 passengers - representing Emirates
staff from across the network and selected randomly from over 11,000 applications to
fly on the test flights - will undergo all pre-flight formalities. These include
check-in through self-service kiosks and boarding via double-decker bridges at fixed
gates, which are already in place to ensure A380-comptability. To test tarmac
boarding, passengers will board through remote gates that require up to ten buses
carrying 50 passengers each to reach the aircraft.

Emirates has strengthened its pre-flight operations to handle the larger volumes of
about 40 percent more passengers per flight. When in the skies, the passengers will
be attended to by 22 cabin crew and served a complete refreshment service.

During the tight turnaround interval, cleaning crew will test their operations and
Emirates Flight Catering will load food trolleys using a special A380 hi-loader
while cargo and baggage loading will be simulated and ground support equipment will
be deployed - all in addition to the deplaning of the existing passengers and
boarding of the subsequent batch.

The campaign will also afford opportunities for Emirates Engineering to become
familiar with the nuts and bolts of the aircraft. Engineering staff, along with
Airbus personnel, will conduct routine maintenance of the aircraft, including main
wheel and nose wheel changes, engine cowling opening and cabin systems checks.

A critical component of the testing program is the full-docking trials in the new
$8.4 million-dollar Emirates Engineering Centre. The A380-compatible facility can
house eighteen A380 aircraft - one in each of the eight hangars, nine in the
dedicated parking bays outside the hangars and one in the engine run up facility.
The hangars’ dimensions are aligned to the A380 facilities constructed by Airbus at
its headquarters in Toulouse.
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