The timely and successful completion of the project has helped the airline maintain its dramatic expansion and provided it with the extra capacity needed to meet ever-increasing market demand.
Emirates signed a Lease Agreement for a fleet of eight Airbus A340-300 jets in September 2003. The support and commitment of many suppliers was needed to reconfigure them to Emirates’ standards so they could enter service to timetable, the first in March 2004 and the eighth by June 2004.
The greatest challenge was to define the engineering tasks, procure the necessary materials, and convert the entire fleet in the short time set. This meant making parts much faster than usual, and having to work on two aircraft at once.
Given constraints in facilities, the work was divided between two maintenance agencies, one of them Emirates Engineering. Although it has the capability to carry out the entire range of aircraft maintenance checks and modifications, it had never previously tackled a conversion on this scale.
Adel Al Redha, Executive Vice President Emirates Engineering & Operations, said: “We have the expertise and resources available in-house, and in view of the commitment and enthusiasm of our staff, we did not hesitate to take up the challenge of doing this major modification work ourselves.”
The reconfiguration required the removal of the entire cabin and cockpit furnishings and avionics instruments, and stripping the aircraft back to the bare metal.
Emirates engineers also relocated and installed crew and passenger seats, aircraft galleys, side panels, toilets and the video control centre to match the airline’s own exacting standards. The layout was changed from 10 First, 30 Business and 223 Economy seats to 12 First, 42 Business and 213 Economy seats. This also gave all classes a generous seat pitch.
The rework involved the extensive rewiring of cabin, cockpit and aircraft systems. A major task was installing galley chiller units and individual passenger air outlets for every passenger, as well as upgrading in-flight entertainment equipment.
The project needed intensive planning and coordination with outside agencies, regulatory authorities, legal and commercial from the UAE, France, Germany, UK and USA. The first A340 converted in Dubai took eight weeks, with the second one taking only six weeks. The whole fleet of eight aircraft entered into commercial service between 15th March and 11th June 2004.
Mr Al Redha said: “We are proud to have completed this major project successfully. It was an excellent effort by our highly professional team from start to finish, for which we owe them a big thank-you.”
Mohd Jaffar Nasser, Base Maintenance Manager, said: “Our team has shown its ability and confidence to carry out major high quality cabin reconfiguration in a timely manner. We will be offering other airlines our expertise in this work in future.”
Tuesday, June 15- 2004 @ 14:51 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.