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PICTURES: Emirates prepares to undertake Airbus A380 trial flights from Dubai

Emirates will undertake a joint A380 test programme with Airbus in Dubai from 15 August, with trials comprising hot weather operations and route-proving type flights with full passenger loads.

 © Airbus S.A.S. 2007 / P MASCLET

The tests which will be followed by technical training later in the year, are part of an extensive campaign by the airline to prepare for a smooth service entry for the double-decker next year.

The temperature trial adds to the extreme weather testing conducted by Airbus in the Middle East and Africa last year. A380 MSN007 – a Rolls-Royce Trent 900-powered development aircraft that is equipped with a full passenger cabin - will undergo airport compatibility checks, on-ground and in-flight service checks, and ground handling and maintenance procedure tests during its seven-day Dubai stay.

The aircraft will be flown by Airbus test pilots and Emirates pilots. Two passenger flights each will operate from Dubai on 17 and 18 August on back-to-back schedules with a 2h turnaround period.

Each flight will operate with 517 passengers served by 22 cabin crew, to simulate a normal revenue service, with the passengers being chosen from over 11,000 Emirates staff that applied to participate.

The flights will include check-in through self-service kiosks and boarding via double-deck air bridges at fixed gates. To test boarding from tarmac, passengers will board through remote gates that require up to ten buses carrying 50 passengers each to reach the aircraft.

“Between now and the final date of delivery, there will be more opportunities to test the aircraft’s systems including the unique cabin interiors,” says Emirates’ executive vice president, engineering and operations Adel Al Redha.

“It is our aim to continue working on perfecting the operational procedures - on the ground and in the air – to ensure 100% readiness when Emirates’ first A380 enters service next year.”

Emirates says that a critical component of the test programme will be the full-docking trials of the aircraft in its new 1.3 billion dirham ($350 million) Emirates Engineering Centre.

The A380-compatible facility can house 18 A380s; one in each of the eight hangars, nine in the dedicated parking bays outside the hangars, and one in the engine run up facility.

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