Aircraft decals: work of art and Emirates Engineering
DUBAI, UAE – 16 February 2015 – It was a busy year for the team at Emirates’ Aircraft Appearance Centre, who successfully completed more than three aircraft decal installations in an average week, bringing the total number of installations to 157 in 2014.
When a new aircraft arrives to join Emirates’ fleet, the team at the Aircraft Appearance Centre get busy working on the aircraft for decal installations, such as the “World Expo 2020 – Dubai Host City” logo which is proudly emblazoned on all of Emirates’ 58 A380 aircraft. Watch this video to see how the team installed the decal on Emirates’ newest A380 aircraft delivered in February.
The largest decal ever installed, was the FIFA World Cup 2014 logo, measuring 21 by 9 metres.
A team of 14 are specialised in the installation of decals on aircraft at Emirates’ Aircraft Appearance Centre. The in-house decal production facility is approximately 250 square metres in size and has the capability to print and install decals like the World Expo 2020 logo, in less than four hours with a team of two people. Larger and more complex decals could take up to 24 hours to print and install.
“It’s a fairly detailed process,” says Naveed Khan, Manager of the Aircraft Appearance Centre, when asked about how decals are made and then installed on an aircraft.
“In terms of the fabrication phase, we first receive the master design from the Corporate Communications department. We then convert it into a working document and then match the colours in the master design to the print output by testing different combinations of colours. The graphic is then broken down into various parts or tiles according to the print media being used. Finally, it is printed, laminated and cut to size.”
“When it comes to the actual installation, we prepare the area, take the necessary reference points on the fuselage, temporarily lay down the decal and then affix it, piece by piece, to the aircraft. Decals which are installed for longer periods of time are also scratch guarded and a clear coat is applied to prevent any erosion.”
Emirates’ in-house decal installation facility means that the paint shop team no longer need to source decals from third parties, resulting in significant cost and time savings, as well as the ability for last minute revisions to be made the decals, and ensuring a perfect fit on the aircraft fuselage.
“Aircraft decals are a bit like temporary tattoos. We wear them proudly on our fleet to tell a story, and celebrate Emirates’ association with key global events and activities that touch and inspire our customers and people around the world,” said Keith Carter, Vice President, Overhaul Workshops, Emirates Engineering.
Emirates first began putting decals on its aircraft 13 years ago to promote the Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises. The airline is a long-time sponsor of both these key calendar events in Dubai.
Emirates has also created and installed aircraft decals for the Fifa World Cup 2014, its sponsorship of Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain and even installed a one-off decal celebrating Mauritius’ 45th anniversary of independence during the first commercial A380 flight to the country in 2013.
Currently, in addition to the “World Expo 2020 – Dubai Host City” logo, Emirates also has 10 A380 aircraft emblazoned with the ICC Cricket World Cup logo flying across the globe, spreading the excitement for the sport and reaching out to passionate cricket fans across the world.