Displaying the A380 in Dubai

Displaying the A380 in Dubai

As the A380 arrived in Dubai on Friday 18 November, it proudly displayed the full Emirate livery with Emirates colours on its tail and the word “Emirates” on a bright red background on its belly.

20 November 2005

As the A380 arrived in Dubai on Friday 18 November, it proudly displayed the full Emirate livery with Emirates colours on its tail and the word “Emirates” on a bright red background on its belly. The first arrival of an aircraft as impressive as the A380 is always an event but the Emirates livery certainly contributed to the excitement.

So it is no wonder that its arrival, late at night, drew crowds of on-lookers, with cars lining up along the highways to watch it land and welcome the crew who will take it thorough its flight demonstrations every day.

As the A380 performed a flight over Dubai on Saturday, before the opening of the show, many people came out on terraces and on the beach to watch it fly past the Burj Al Arab hotel, a land mark of Dubai.

This is not only the first time the A380 appears in a customer’s livery, it is also the first time it participates in an air show outside Europe, and the first time it comes to Dubai, home of Emirates, the largest A380 customer.

The aircraft however is not painted in Emirates colours. With the tight schedule of the certification campaign, painting the aircraft was not possible. Instead, full customisation was done with removable decals, a technique already used in the recent Asia-Pacific tour.

With this technique, a few logos can be applied in one to two hours, however doing a full aircraft livery can take up to two whole days. So the Airbus team in Toulouse prepared the second A380 in full Emirates livery for the Dubai Airshow while the first A380 was on tour in Asia and Australia, In total, for both aircraft, around 1,000 decals were used.

There are no safety issues resulting from attaching decals to the aircraft exterior. A varnish is applied as a precautionary measure, which ensures the decals stay in place during flight. It is also better for the aerodynamics as it creates a rounder edge for the decal.

Removing the livery is relatively simple. A varnish remover is applied and the decals are slowly peeled off to ensure no paint is removed.