Some light showers on Emirates A380s
In its last trading period Emirates proved itself no more immune to the effects of runaway oil prices than any other carrier. So the news that its celebrated A380 showers are consuming much less water than predicted must come as no small relief to managers at the Dubai carrier.
According to Flight International, the airline is looking at a significant reduction in the amount of water uplifted on each flight, and even the possible removal of the auxiliary water tanks, following early indications that passengers are using half as much as forecast.
When its first A380 was delivered in July the carrier said it expected usage of the two showers in first-class, with its 14 suites, would make it necessary to add 500kg to the standard water provision, equal to an increase of 25 per cent. To cater for the showers the airline’s 489-seat A380s are fitted with two optional auxiliary potable water tanks in the centre wingbox. They increase capacity from the standard 1,700 litres to 2,270 litres for a total weight of around 2.3 tonnes.
Emirates president Tim Clark says that operational experience with the first two aircraft on the 14hr Dubai-New York route suggests that this may have been over-cautious. “Threequarters of our first-class passengers use the showers, and total water consumption throughout the aircraft is 1.2-1.3 tonnes. So we’ve been landing with over a tonne still left.”
The airline is now thinking of cutting total water uplift by as much as one tonne. In the longer term, says Clark, “we might even remove the extra tanks once we reach maturity on the aircraft. This would reduce weight and further improve efficiency, either cutting fuel burn or giving us another three tonnes of payload.”
Emirates has two A380s in service, with a third due to arrive soon and a fourth next month. The airline will add the second A380 route to its network next Monday when it launches on Dubai-London Heathrow. Operations from Dubai to Sydney and Auckland will begin in February.