What does it take to paint a fleet of aircraft? 273 days, a paint hangar twice the size of a football field and pure dedication.
Emirates Airlines gave 21 aircraft in its fleet a complete make-over last year, in a task which took a whopping 6,550 hours to complete.
The process involves completely stripping the aircraft before painting and repainting the exterior. One Boeing 777 can take 12-13 days and requires a team of 26-30 people, as captured in this video by Emirates Airlines.
Emirates, which repeats the process every seven to eight years, has the world's largest paint hangar at Dubai International Airport- a dedicated 24-hour service established in 2010. In addition to the make-over, the team also handled 60,000 other paint touch-up jobs on the exteriors and interiors of the aircraft, as well as cabin items.
“Our aircraft livery is one of the most recognisable and visible aspects of our brand. It is what people see in the sky, and the first thing our passengers see at their boarding gates,” said Adel Al Redha, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Emirates.
But it is about more than just a pretty face.
“The paint coat has to withstand fierce weather conditions, including severe wind, bitter cold and searing heat, and an exterior coat that is clean of debris and imperfections improves aerodynamics and reduces fuel consumption. Emirates already flies a young and efficient fleet, but with fuel prices at consistently high levels, every little bit of efficiency counts,” Al Redha added.
Prior to building its own paint hangar, Emirates, which operates the world’s largest fleets of A380s and Boeing 777s, outsourced the big paint jobs to an external supplier.