Sheikh Mohammed with Sheikh Maktoum and Sheikh Ahmed. Image Credit: DMO

Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Wednesday toured the Emirates Engineering Centre, accompanied by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE; and Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.

Sheikh Mohammed reviewed various aspects of the airline’s ongoing cabin refurbishment programme – from an A380 entirely stripped of its interiors being prepped for its cabin makeover, to a newly refurbished aircraft that has been equipped with Emirates’ latest Premium Economy product and cabin interiors.

Sheikh Mohammed, along with his entourage, also visited the airline's state-of-the-art cabin workshops and watched a demonstration of how aircraft safety slides are deployed and tested. He also met with the team of highly skilled engineers and technicians working on the retrofit programme. Emirates employs over 5,500 people in various roles in its Engineering division. UAE nationals make up 60% of the workforce while female talent comprises nearly 20%.

The Emirates Engineering Centre is among the most impressive civil aviation maintenance facilities in the world, capable of servicing Emirates’ modern fleet of 260 aircraft. The 400,000 square metre state-of-the-art facility features 12 fully air-conditioned hangars which form the largest free-spanned structures in the Middle East that include hangars with roofs supported by 110-metre-long single spans.

Emirates’ massive retrofit programme is part of a $2 billion commitment to ensure its products and services remain the best in the sky. Over two years, the programme will upgrade the cabin interiors of 120 Emirates aircraft. The refurbishment of each aircraft currently takes about 21 days, requiring over 1,000 man-hours per day. This is the largest known cabin retrofit project in aviation to date, all the work for which has been done entirely in the UAE.

Since the programme began in November 2022, the Emirates Engineering Centre has completely refurbished 14 A380s, enabling the airline to offer its Premium Economy product and latest cabin experiences on popular routes such as London Heathrow, New York JFK, San Francisco, Houston, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Christchurch and Singapore. As the rollout of the retrofitted and enhanced Emirates A380s featuring a four-class configuration picks up pace, Premium Economy will be deployed on flights to more global destinations.

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Sheikh Mohammed and his entourage also visited Terminal 2 at Dubai International Airport, which apart from being the operational base of flydubai also provides services to 18 other airlines. His Highness was briefed on the airport's operations, including processes to expedite passenger procedures and its preparations to handle increased travel movement during the summer holiday season as well as its efforts to cope with the continuous growth in the volume of passengers at Dubai Airport. He expressed his appreciation for Dubai International Airport’s remarkable development under the leadership of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, as well as its growth into a major global aviation hub and its ranking as the world’s busiest airport for several consecutive years.

The Airport received more than 66 million passengers in 2022 and more than 21 million passengers in the first quarter of 2023, which represents a growth of 55.8% from Q1 2022. His Highness was briefed about the services provided to passengers in Terminal 2 and the Airport’s efforts to provide a safe and comfortable travel experience for passengers from across the world.