(18 August 2022, 11:13 +07) Emirates’ plan to upgrade the interior cabins of 120 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft is scheduled to begin in November and is expected to take 898 days to complete.
This ambitious project, representing a multi-billion dollar investment, is being managed entirely by Emirates’ Engineering team.
The target is to completely retrofit four Emirates aircraft from start to finish every month, continuously for over 2 years. Once the 67 earmarked A380s are refreshed and back in service, 53 777s will undergo their facelift.
The work will see nearly 4,000 brand new Premium Economy seats installed, 728 First Class suites refurbished and over 5,000 Business Class seats upgraded to a new style and design when the project is complete in April 2025.
Emirates believes the retrofit project will take 898 days to complete.
In addition, carpets and stairs will be upgraded, and cabin interior panels refreshed with new tones and design motifs including the iconic ghaf trees which are native to the UAE.
As there’s no blueprint for such a massive undertaking, Emirates’ Engineering team has been planning and testing extensively, to establish and streamline processes, and identify and address any possible snags.
Trials began on an A380 in July, where experienced engineers literally took each cabin apart piece-by-piece and logged every step. From removing seats and panelling to bolts and screws, every action was tested, timed and mapped out.
Potential impediments to completing the installation of Emirates’ new Premium Economy Class or the retrofit of the remaining three cabins in just 16 days were flagged and documented for expert teams to review and address.
As part of the programme, new purpose-built workshops will be set up at Emirates Engineering to repaint, re-trim and re-upholster Business and Economy Class seats with new covers and cushioning.
First Class suites will be disassembled and sent to a specialised company to replace the leather, arm rests and other materials.
From the trials, engineers discovered several unexpected solutions. For example, existing food catering trucks could be easily repurposed to move parts destined for refurbishment from the aircraft to the workshop for their refresh.
Until the retrofit programme starts in earnest in November, a cross-disciplinary team has been assembled to regularly review the planning process, address any issues, and track updates on various aspects of the project such as procurement, staffing and training.