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Major Reconfiguration Of Airbus A340-300 Fleet

Emirates Engineering Completes Major Reconfiguration Of Airbus A340-300 Fleet

Emirates Airline engineers have successfully completed one of the most ambitious and extensive aircraft reconfiguration projects they have ever undertaken.

The timely and successful completion of the project has helped the airline maintain its dramatic expansion rate and provided it with the extra capacity needed to meet ever-increasing market demand.

In addition to the purchase of eight new Airbus A340-500 ultra-longhaul aircraft, which began coming into its fleet in December last year, Emirates also signed a lease agreement for a fleet of eight previously-owned, shorter range Airbus A340-300 jets in September 2003. The support and commitment of many suppliers was needed to reconfigure the A340-300s 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.

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 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 executives from the UAE, France, Germany, UK and USA. The first A340-300 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 March 15 and June 11, 2004.

Mohd Jaffar Nasser, Emirates 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."

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