The “smart” dock, the first multi-aircraft dock in the world, will be suitable for the Boeing 777-200/300, Airbus A340-500/600, A330, A300, A310 and Boeing 767.
Ultimately destined for Dubai International Airport, it now towers above the premises of construction firm Al Roumi/J Mullins on an industrial estate in Al Awir, Dubai. It will allow Emirates Engineering personnel full access to all areas of the various aircraft types in complete safety at heights of up to 60 feet above ground.
Later this month the huge 330-tonne dock will be dismantled into six sections and hoisted into place by giant cranes after a four-mile midnight trip from Al Awir to the airport on 35-metre transporters.
It will be the first anywhere in the Middle East suitable for the highly popular long-range Boeing 777-300, in service with Emirates and many other airlines, and is being commissioned by mid October in time for the first major maintenance ‘C’ check on an Emirates B777-300.
Computer-controlled and guided by lasers, electronic pro-logic controls and 14 electric motors, the two sides of the giant assembly will slide inwards on rails to “shrink fit” automatically to within a centimetre of an aircraft’s fuselage.
Earlier this month a tractor-sized precision grinder, flown in specially from the UK on a Boeing 747 freighter, prepared the hangar floor for an extra rail level to within 0.2 millimetres along its entire 75-metre length to be installed to help the dock move.
Emirates already has a docking system at its Dubai maintenance base. The new system is larger so it can accommodate B777-300s and A340s, increases the airline’s heavy maintenance capabilities and opens the way to a major expansion in third party maintenance work.
Adel Al Redha, Head of Emirates Engineering, said this week: “This custom-built docking system will be the first of its kind anywhere in the Middle East.
“Docking an aircraft will take just 90 minutes, dramatically reducing the time needed to manoeuvre heavy maintenance equipment by hand, cutting the cost of mandatory inspections which take aircraft out of revenue service, greatly improving our maintenance capability, and enhancing our appeal to outside customers.
“In today’s cost-conscious world, productivity improvements are vital,” Mr Al Redha said.
New maintenance facilities are also in the pipeline for the Airbus A380 double-decker aircraft. Emirates has so far ordered seven, becoming the world’s first airline to commit to the project.
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