The day has finally come: today marks the start of Emirates’ 2-year retrofit program, a multi-billion dollar investment to provide Emirates’ customers with the highest levels of in-flight comfort and style. Let’s look closely at how the Gulf airline plans to manage this massive cabin renovation program.

Emirates to kick off the biggest-ever retrofit program in modern aviation

After completing a flight from Cairo (CAI) to Dubai International Airport (DXB) as flight EK928, Emirates Airbus 380 with registration A6-EVM was towed to Hangar E at the Emirates Engineering Center.

The almost three-year-old Airbus 380 will be the first aircraft of the Emirates’ fleet to have its cabin interiors upgraded. After arriving at the Engineering Center today, a team of specialized engineers started to prepare the plane for its makeover.

A6-EVM is the first of 120 aircraft whose interiors will be retrofitted with Emirates’ latest interior cabin design as part of the biggest-known retrofit program that has ever taken place in modern commercial aviation. To face the challenges of such a bold project, Emirates has hired 190 additional staff and has engaged with 62 key partners and suppliers that have employed hundreds more skilled people.

Emirates (Dubai Expo Livery) Airbus A380-861 A6-EOT

Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

After spending months planning every little detail of the retrofit program and running tests on an actual Airbus 380, Emirates engineers proceeded to take stock. Subsequently, Emirates submitted 12,600 purchase orders just for the initial part of the program. Meanwhile, the Emirates Engineering Center has been populated with purpose-built workshops, where the equipment and different parts needed to retrofit the aircraft have been stocked.

How will the retrofit process be carried out?

Retrofitting an aircraft is no easy task, let alone if the airline has to refresh the interiors of more than a hundred of its planes. So how is Emirates managing the biggest-ever aircraft retrofit program?

Let’s focus on the Airbus 380 A6-EVM; for the next 16 days, engineers and technicians will disassemble the cabin interior and put it back together according to a carefully planned and tested sequence. Thousands of parts will be replaced, removed, or refreshed, including Emirates’ signature in-flight SPA. This will indeed feature new color tones and a hand-stenciled motif of a Ghaf tree.

Emirates Airbus A380-861 (2) (1)

Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying 

The renovation of each aircraft type will follow a consistent procedure. First, the window seats of the economy class will be removed to allow a team of engineers to remove the side panels of the cabin. The panels will then be moved to one of the three purpose-built workshops to receive Emirates’ latest color tones. In the front section of the main deck of the Airbus 380, 88 economy class seats will be removed to leave space for the brand-new premium economy class, which seats up to 56 people. Currently, Emirates offers its premium economy product on flights to London, Paris, and Sydney. Thanks to the interior renovation program, by March 2023, the airline plans to introduce premium economy on flights to New York JFK, San Francisco, Melbourne, Auckland, and Singapore.

Emirates, Airbus A380, Premium Economy

Photo: Emirates

In the upper deck, dedicated to the premium cabins, the business class and first class seats will be removed and ferried to dedicated workshops. Business class seats will be repainted and re-upholstered with new leather at Emirates Engineering. On the other hand, first class seats will be sent to a specialist at Dubai World Central (DWC) to be refurbished. Before all seats are re-installed, all aircraft carpets and floorings will also be replaced.

Beyond the first aircraft

To completely retrofit the first Airbus 380, engineers and technicians will need 16 days. But what about the remaining 119 planes?

The second aircraft planned for renovation is the 5.5-year-old Airbus 380 A6-EUW, which should arrive at the Emirates Engineering Center on December 1st. However, Emirates aims to have its teams working simultaneously on two aircraft soon, meaning an Emirates aircraft will be grounded and moved to the Engineer Center every eight days.

Emirates-(Expo-Green)-Airbus-A380-800---A6EON (2)

Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

According to the airline’s timeline, all 67 Airbus 380s destined for the retrofit program should be back in service by May 23rd, 2024. By then, the carrier will start retrofitting 53 of its Boeing 777s. By March 2025, the biggest-ever retrofit program should be completed, and all 120 Emirates aircraft with refreshed interiors should be back in the skies.

Emirates Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EQN

Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

Do you think Emirates will be able to stick to the current timeline? Let us know in the comment section below!

  • Emirates, Airbus A380, Penultimate


    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Dubai International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum

    United Arab Emirates


Napsat komentář

Vaše e-mailová adresa nebude zveřejněna.

You May Also Like

Airbus Helicopters Posts Strong Medevac Order Intake

Airbus Helicopters announced continuing strong sales into the U.S. medical market at…

The Complex Art of Aircraft Utilization

DALLAS – Aircraft are the most important and valuable assets of an…

Why Don’t Planes Use Reverse Thrust To Push Back?

When a plane departs an airport, its first movement will be to…

Quiz: 6 Questions To See How Well You Know Aircraft Systems

How’s your systems knowledge? 1) You’re performing an engine run-up before takeoff.…