With only two weeks left before the first Emirates A380 lands at Manchester Airport on 1st September, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has officially certified Manchester Airport as ‘A380 ready’.
When the CAA Aerodrome Standards Division gave their approval, the airport joined a select group of only 17 global airports to be certified meaning next month, Manchester will become the first regional airport in the World to have a regular service by an A380.
Manchester Airport has invested more than £10 million upgrading the airfield to the standards needed for the Emirates super-jumbo. This includes reconstructing a new aircraft stand with state of the art equipment including an advance docking system, which guides the pilot onto the stand and into the correct position for the unique double airbridge to connect. Construction has taken place over the last 18 months on the airfield at Manchester.
Manchester Airport’s Managing Director Andrew Cornish said: “It’s a proud day for Manchester and we’re naturally pleased that Emirates has chosen Manchester to be the first regional airport in the world to welcome an A380 aircraft. A lot of hard work and planning has gone into the arrival from many people across the business and we’re pleased that as an aerodrome we can accept the newest type of aircraft flying today and that Emirates has recognised Manchester as a world class airport.”
As well as building a new stand the airport has also updated the pier with a new pre-boarding lounge to accommodate the 517 passengers the new Emirates A380 will have onboard at any one time. Emirates have been flying from Manchester to Dubai for almost 20 years and now have a double daily service to Dubai.
The CAA approval is a result of work dating back nearly ten years with the most detailed and intensive work taking place out on the airfield due to the shear size of the aircraft. Taxiways have had to be widened, realigned and reinforced at junctions and turns as well as perimeter fences and over fifty airfield signs moved further away so the super jumbo can pass safely.
The airport has also invested in two new fire-fighting vehicles. One of the vehicles hosts a turntable system with a 30 metre extending ladder which can be extended over inflated emergency exit chutes, enabling the fire service to gain access to any level of an aircraft including those where conventional ladders might not reach.
With the airport now being classed as ‘A380 ready’ this makes Manchester a ‘Category 10’ airport, meaning that the airport can not only accept the A380 but other ‘Code F’ aircraft such as some of the larger freighter aircraft that are operating around the world.
Emirates, the biggest customer of the Airbus A380, currently flies the aircraft to London Heathrow, Paris, Seoul and Bangkok amongst others.