Date Posted: 10/07/2018
The Emirates Engineering department has successfully completed a full interior configuration of their second Boeing 777-200LR aircraft. The re-configuration of the aircraft saw the first class cabin being removed and replaced with a spacious new business class cabin along with a fully refreshed economy class cabin. Emirates proudly executed this conversion in-house in Dubai, utilising their own engineering hangars. Emirates only have ten Boeing 777-200LR aircraft in their fleet with only two of them re-configured it only leaves eight more to go. Emirates are expecting to have all of them completed by mid-2019, with each aircraft taking approximately 35 days to complete.
The new business class seats are much wider than the preceding seats and are now configured into a 2-2-2 configuration. Unfortunately not all of those passengers travelling in business will get direct aisle access. Those passengers sitting in the window seat will have to end up shuffling over someone to get in and out of their seat. Perfect for couples or groups travelling together, leaving the centre set of two seats for individuals or single flyers were they don’t need to climb over anyone to get out. At the end of that day it all depends if you want the window seat or not. A new social area has also been included in the new business cabin, offering those passengers travelling in business class access to snacks, drinks, fruit and other light refreshments during the flight.
Emirates has invested over US$150 million (AUD$200 million) to refurbish their Boeing 777-200LR fleet. There is a video below released by Emirates showing how the Emirates Engineering team executed the re-configuration.
Video Courtesy of Emirates
Business class has been consolidated down to 38 suites from 42, while economy will now seat 264 passengers and increase of 48 revenue seats. The new business class seats are the same design and shape of Emirates’ latest fully flat seats, they are now an extra 2 inches wider than the previous seats.
The seats will have champagne coloured leather finish along with the diamond stitch pattern on the full leather cover. The seat will have an increased pitch of 72 inches. The suite will also have touchscreen controls for the seat and inflight entertainment system, several fully customisable lighting options, privacy panels between seats, a shoe storage area, footrest and personal mini bar.
The overhead bins have been removed to create a sense of space on board. The cabin has electronic window blinds and a huge 23 inch inflight entertainment system, allowing passengers to have access to over 3,000 channels of on-demand entertainment, powered by the multi-award winning “ice” system.
The aircraft will also be equipped with wifi and the ability to watch live TV across all its classes.
The re-configuration took Emirates Engineers 22 months to complete, starting from the time a decision was made to reconfigure the fleet to the completion of the first aircraft being rolled out of the Emirates hangar, ready for its commercial flight. The job to reconfigure the aircraft was completed on time with lots of work going into it as you could imagine, with the Emirates Engineering Team working over 16,000 hours throughout the whole project. This included outlining the required specifications, reviewing designs and layout, managing procurement and contracts with suppliers, securing regulatory approvals, maintaining stock, management of workflows, timelines and maintaining those resources needed throughout the whole process.
A lot of consideration is needed to finalise a design, Emirates had to choose out of eight proposed blueprints. The team had to secure approval form the GCAA and the FAA in order to modify the aircraft from its original design. Once the design was chosen engineers had to work with numerous suppliers to make sure that all the necessary parts and spares were available. Over 30 suppliers were involved, managing over 2,700 parts at any one point of time.
For a re-configuration to begin engineers need an aircraft to work on, flight schedules had be adjusted so a plane could be grounded and not leave a hole in the Emirates network. Once Emirates engineers had a plane to work on they need to completely strip out the old interior, which saw the removal of all cabins, galleys and restrooms.
The installation of the new seats wasn’t as simple as just putting in the new seats, new wiring had to be installed for the new cabin interior and seat controls as well as the overhead lockers being removed. New galleys had to be installed to allow for the new social space in business class to be incorporated in the cabin. The reconfiguration process took engineers 55 days to re-configure the first aircraft, however as a result of the learnings efficiencies during the first conversion, the second re-configuration on took 35 days to complete.
Once the aircraft was fitted with the new interior, various safety tests had to be conducted at different stages during the process to ensure its safe operation. Testing included, prototype testing were the design was validated for regulatory compliance; functional testing of cabin components; EMI Electro-magnetic interference and air-flow testing inside the cabin, along with a five hour test flight with the simulation of various flight scenarios and in-flight fire and smoke testing.
Emirates are able to successfully complete these re-configurations in-house by utilising the modern and extensive technical facilities at its Dubai hub to maintain their fleet of over 260 aircraft. The Emirates Engineering base is spread over 136 acres, including seven heavy maintenance hangars and four light maintenance hangars.
Leveraging on its experience as the largest operator of Airbus A380 and the Boeing 777 Aircraft, Emirates Engineering can provide Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul services selectively to external parties.
Currently Qantas are sending their Airbus A380 fleet over to Dubai to have the 2017 New Roo livery painted on their A380 fleet, utilising their combined partnership agreement to full effect.