Dubai, 1 March 2023 - Airbus’ A380 has made a significant impact on the aviation industry and airlines alike. As passengers' favourite around the world, the A380 has also transformed passengers’ idea of air travel and continues to do so 15 years after the aircraft's first commercial flight.
As the biggest A380 operator in the world with 120 aircraft, the story of the A380 is closely linked to Emirates. The airline has flown more than 100 million passengers to over 60 destinations around the globe on this aircraft. And with the launch of its new premium economy cabin, Emirates continues to push the boundaries of innovation and cabin design. Indeed the first of 120 Emirates aircraft to have completed its refurbishment has been deployed this month on the Dubai-London service.
The fully refreshed A380 features Emirates airline’s latest products and interiors across all cabins, including 56 Premium Economy class seats on the main deck, and new colour palettes evident in the carpeting and wall panels. On the upper deck, First and Business Class seats sport Emirates airline’s latest cream-coloured leather upholstery and lighter-toned wood finishing.
This major A380 cabin upgrade is a meaningful example of the additional value that Airbus Services can bring to in-service aircraft and illustrates how the A380 will continue to fly our skies for years to come, with new revenue schemes and an enhanced passenger experience. The A380 fleet is very actively returned to service by our customers - and Emirates is no exception - confirming the market need and appetite for this product.
Emirates A380 retrofit - timelapse video
Airbus demonstrated its expertise in managing refurbishment programmes
Teams of engineers and technicians have worked round the clock, taking apart the entire interior of the A380 and refitting the parts again in a carefully planned and tested sequence. This project presented a very challenging timeline that Airbus helped to deliver on time, with flexibility and agility, adapting the technical scope to meet Emirates’ needs.
What was expected to be an 18-month retrofit programme was delivered in less than 12 months from signature to delivery. This included the qualification of new suppliers, while successfully overcoming supply chain disruptions due to the COVID pandemic.
Airbus adapted its engineering capabilities and other services to meet the evolving requirements of Emirates. This encompassed providing all the Services Bulletins (including engineering drawings) and kits to install 56 additional Premium Economy seats in the main deck of the A380, in a 2-4-2 configuration similar to the latest A380s delivered. In addition, Airbus supplied the kits required to install a new satcom antenna that will provide passengers with enhanced inflight entertainment and connectivity on the flagship aircraft. Through this retrofit project, Airbus Services has demonstrated its ability to deliver an optimised combination of modifications approved through both Airbus Type Certification and Supplemental Type Certification.
Airbus is also supporting Emirates airline’s sustainability journey by improving the number of re-used parts and thus, reducing the environmental impact of the retrofit.
The ambitious refurbishment programme will be carried out on 67 A380s by 2024.
External Communications - Airbus Commercial Aircraft
Head of Communications - Airbus Africa & Middle East