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Dubai, UAE - Emirates owns the largest A380 fleet in the world with 115 superjumbos. Emirates' all A380 jets have been on the ground for some time due to the ongoing global crisis.

It's a challenging job for Emirates! maintenance teams to keep those idled planes ready for service when needed.

The Gulf carrier's maintenance teams are fighting against time every day to keep the world's largest pure widebody fleet, including 153 Boeing 777s, which are also mostly grounded.

Bigger the aircraft, the greater the effort. Because these planes cannot simply be parked and left to their fate to return them to the service after months of grounding.

Maintenance guidelines and manufacturer guidelines must also be met during the grounding. This also includes protective measures for the maintenance teams, which are intended to prevent infection with the coronavirus. Only four to six employees are allowed to work at the same time in twelve-hour shifts, with strict respect for physical distance.

Emirates currently has 218 parked jets - 117 at Dubai World Central and 101 at Dubai International Airport. According to the airline, around 15,500 working hours were needed for this mass grounding alone.

Emirates currently holds 75 aircraft in service mainly for cargo operations around the world. All aircraft that are out of service for more than 48 hours are covered. The maintenance crews close all openings through which sand, dirt, water, birds, or insects could get into the aircraft.

These include engines and data probes such as the pitot tubes, temperature sensors, or angle of attack sensors. The auxiliary gas turbines (APU) of the jets are also encased accordingly.

Cabin equipment, seats, and on-board entertainment systems are also protected from external influences. Fuel and water remain in the aircraft so that the seals do not dry out and become brittle.

The process also includes lubrication, cleaning, and preservation of landing gear and flight control systems. The team turns off all cockpit switches, disconnects the batteries, and installs control lever locks and blinds.

After all tasks have been completed, regular inspections of all parked planes are scheduled. These follow the manufacturers' guidelines every seven, 15, and, 30 days.

"These can be simple tours to ensure that all covers are in place and there are no visible damage or leaks," says Emirates.

But this also includes more complex tasks. Critical systems such as the APU, Air Conditioning, and flight control systems have to be started up for test purposes. There is a stationary run of the engines every two weeks. The grounded jets also need movement to prevent the tires from getting flat, they are rolled back and forth slightly every week.

Emirates' widebodies should be able to leave their long-term parking space as quickly as possible. Four to five committed employees and at least 18 to 24 hours are needed to put one plane back into operation.
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