Emirates and Airbus complete A380 Tests in Dubai

Travel News Asia Thursday, 23 August 2007

Seven days, 100 tests, and more than 2000 people involved: the Airbus A380's compatibility tests at Dubai International Airport have been successfully completed.

With an onboard team of almost 80 Airbus personnel that participated in the test programme, 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.

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% load factor - the average seat factor experienced by the Dubai-based airline.

Even with 40% 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, "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 tarmac."

Emirates has ordered 55 A380s with the first delivery expected in August 2008. 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.

See other recent news regarding: Travel News Asia, Airbus, A380, Pictures of the Airbus A380

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