Grant Bradley

Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Emirates gets its 50th A380 + video

Emirates has released footage of Airbus workers building one of their 50 A380 super jumbos, a task that takes 800 workers 65 to 80 days to assemble, install, test, paint, furnish and deliver.

While other airlines have been slow to sign up for the double decker aircraft, they form the backbone of the Emirates fleet and it has another 90 on order to soon be flying through its Dubai hub.

All of Emirates' A380s have been furnished and delivered from the Airbus facility in Hamburg, Germany.

First, the aircraft fuselage is produced in Hamburg and then transported to Toulouse for the first stage of final assembly.

The wing sections, produced in Britain, are also shipped from the Airbus Hamburg facility to Toulouse, France.

Parts such as the fuselage and wings are transferred through a transportation network that includes three specially-commissioned ships to carry the sections from production sites throughout Europe.

Over 10,000 bolts are used to connect the fuselage and over 4000 for the wings.

The first part of final assembly, which takes place in Toulouse, results in an aircraft that is ready for its first "ferry flight", minus its interior and paint.

After assembly, each of the five sections of the fuselage are tested by engineers, and then the aircraft is off to Hamburg for painting and cabin furnishing. It takes 30 people approximately 10 days to paint the A380, which has a surface area of 3150sqm - approximately the size of seven professional basketball courts. Over 500kg of paint is needed just to give the aircraft its white colour.

Cabin furnishings are installed in the final stages of the assembly process. It takes about 33 working days to furnish the 550sqm cabin area on-board the Emirates A380.

This includes all seats, galleys, crew rest areas, the unique shower-spa and private suites in first class, the on-board lounge located at the back of the Business Class cabin, and inflight entertainment system in all cabins.

Emirates took deliver of 13 of the giant double-decker aircraft last year.

More than 28 million passengers have travelled on the Emirates A380 over the last six years of operations.

Airbus' A380 has 318 orders, with the company delivering 138 planes, since 2005.

The Seattle Times reported this week that because of the A380's slow sales, Airbus has cut the list price of US$400 million by as much as 50 per cent in some cases to try and close deals for the massive jet.

The Emirates A380

• Total number of passenger seats (Emirates has two A380 configurations) 489 / 517

• Number of A380s in Emirates fleet to date: 50

• Number of A380s pending delivery: 90

• The shortest flight on an Emirates A380: Dubai-Kuwait, 851km, 1hrs 45mins. This is also the world's shortest A380 route.

• The longest flight on an Emirates A380: Dubai-Los Angeles, 13,414km, 16hrs 20mins.

• Number of bottles of wine on board a typical Emirates A380 flight: 478

• Number of bottles of champagne on board a typical Emirates A380 flight: 31

• Number of bread rolls loaded onto an A380: 650 for all three classes

• Number of croissants on board an A380: Up to 550 for all three classes

• Number of main courses served on an A380: Approximately 515 for all classes

• Number of desserts served on an A380: Approximately 450 for all classes

• Number of sandwiches loaded for the A380 onboard lounge bar: Almost 80 sandwiches

• Amount of liquid soap loaded on Emirates A380 flight to Heathrow: 12 litres of liquid soap distributed in 15 toilets

• Volume of water that the aircraft holds to facilitate the showers: 2267 litres

• Average number of crew aboard each A380 flight (ultra- long haul flights)4 flight deck crew, 24 cabin crew, 2 cabin service attendants

- NZ Herald

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