Seven days, 100 tests, and more than 2000 people
involved and the A380’s compatibility at Dubai International Airport has been
successfully demonstrated.With an onboard team of almost 80 Airbus personnel that participated in the test
programme, the 21st century flagship aircraft took off from Dubai at 10:00 hours
yesterday, having effectively concluded a rigorous campaign of operability tests,
both in normal and extreme temperature conditions.
During its week-long Dubai visit, marking one of the longest customer trials for
Airbus, the aircraft, MSN 007, was the centrepiece of numerous compatibility tests
including taxiway, runway and ground support equipment tests, as well as docking
trials at the terminal gate and in the state-of-the-art Emirates Engineering Centre.
Seeking to familiarise its staff with the world’s largest commercial passenger
aircraft, Emirates, jointly with Airbus, conducted four test flights that brought
into play all key units of the airline such as Airport Services, Inflight Catering,
Cabin Crew, Flight Operations, Cargo, Inflight Systems, Engineering and Maintenance,
Group Security, and Dnata Airport Operations.
From the time the test campaign was conceived, Emirates was clear - tests must be as
real as possible and conducted under typical airline conditions. Two of the test
flights were operated in the morning when Dubai International Airport was at its
busiest, followed by two flights later in the afternoon. The flights, each two hours
in duration and flown over the UAE, were operated at almost 80 percent load factor -
the average seat factor experienced by the Dubai-based airline.
Even with 40 percent more passengers on average per flight, the A380’s turnaround
time between each of the two test flights on 17th and 18th August was fixed at 90
minutes. Boarding of passengers, comprising mostly airline staff, was conducted via
double-decker aerobridges as well as off stand through buses on tarmac.
The hot weather operability tests culminated with the smooth docking of the A380 at
Hangar C in Emirates Engineering Centre later in the week. The dock fabricated and
commissioned by UAE-based Excel Industries will allow full access to all areas of
the aircraft for heavy maintenance, while at the same time ensure a safe, stable and
efficient working environment up to 24 metres above ground level.
Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Executive Vice President, Engineering and Operations said:
“Emirates is delighted at the successful completion of a long and comprehensive test
campaign with Airbus. Emirates’ staff, drawn from various operational departments,
were able to familiarise themselves with the aircraft, ahead of its entry into the
“Our staff from all corners of the world including Australia, Bahrain, the United
Kingdom, Korea and Mauritius arrived into Dubai to volunteer as passengers for the
test flights, bearing testimony to the campaign’s overwhelming response. It was an
extremely gratifying moment when the first flight lifted off the runway amidst a
ripple of applause, both from the onboard passengers and from ground staff on the
Al Redha added: “Emirates has worked closely with Airbus in the design and
development of the A380, as the airframe moved from concept to the drawing board and
on to the production line. We will continue to work together to test the aircraft’s
systems between now and August 2008 when Emirates is expected to take delivery of
its first A380.”
Emirates has ordered 55 A380s. With forecasts indicating a doubling of air traffic
in the next 15 years, and a corresponding increase in flight frequencies not being
an option on many routes due to slot constraints, the A380 - the world’s largest
aircraft - is aptly designed for world growth, while at the same time minimizing
impact on the environment.