Emirates is aiming to keep 116 Airbus A380s in service over the next few years, with the effort supported by a series of maintenance agreements disclosed by the carrier.
The carrier is the largest operator of the type, and eventually placed total orders for 123 before Airbus discontinued production.
While a few of the A380s have been withdrawn from the fleet, Emirates president Tim Clark says he is committed to “keep them going as long as possible”.
“We have to keep a careful eye on [the supply chain], so we’re cannibalising some of the early aircraft and storing the parts,” he said, speaking during the Dubai air show.
“We’ll try to keep 116 going for as long as we can. Back-end of the next decade, it’ll drop to 90.”
He says the fleet will decline as the Boeing 777-9 takes over the high-capacity long-haul task, “unless I can persuade [Airbus] to build another [A380] – I’ve been banging on about it, and each time they consign me to the loony bin.”
Emirates says it is “doubling down” its investment to “maximise fleet performance and reliability” of its A380s, signing agreements worth around $1.5 billion with several companies at the show.
It says the agreements are intended to “optimise” the A380s’ lifespan and “unlock additional operational efficiency gains”.
“Our continued commitment to and confidence in the A380 are why we’re investing heavily to keep the fleet in optimal shape and pristine condition,” says Clark.
“The A380 will remain core to our network and customer proposition for the next decade, and we want to ensure our fleet is in tip-top shape.”
Safran is to provide nose landing-gear services, while Collins Aerospace has signed a long-term agreement for main landing-gear overhaul.
Emirates says 116 A380s will be supplied with wheels and carbon brakes by Honeywell, with maintenance conducted at the airline’s maintenance facilities in Dubai.
The carrier adds that it is extending an agreement with OEMServices for A380 component support, including repair and supply of spares. Pratt & Whitney will support the type’s PW980 auxiliary power units.
Base maintenance for the A380s will be carried out by Lufthansa Technik, which is performing C-checks on the type at its Philippines facility, while C-check work will also be done by China’s Gameco and Haeco from early next year.