Published on September 15th, 2015 | by Jim Lee


Emirates renews its fleet as it bids farewell to its last Boeing 777-200

On 3rd September, Emirates celebrated a company record with the arrival of four new aircraft in one day. The bumper delivery, worth an estimated $1.5 billion (around €1.33 billion), included two Boeing 777-300ERs (A6-EPA/B), one Boeing 777-F1H Freighter (A6-EFS) and one Airbus A380-861 aircraft (A6-EON). The deliveries affirm Emirate’s commitment to flying a modern, efficient and comfortable fleet. See Emirates video below.

Emirates-B777 300ER-A

Emirates are already the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 777 and the A380. The delivery of A6-EON (c/n 188) brings the total number of this iconic A380 double-decker aircraft in the Emirates fleet to 66. The additional three Boeing aircraft marks the 150th Emirates Boeing 777 delivery milestone, and takes the current Emirates 777 fleet size to 147. The Boeing 777 fleet is made up of 118 777-300s, six 777-200(ER), ten B777-200(LR)s and 13 777 freighters. With a range of up to 17,446 kilometres or 9,420 nautical miles, Emirates’ Boeing 777s serve almost 100 destinations across six continents, enabling the airline to connect almost any two points on earth.

Emirates received its first Boeing 777-21H, A6-EMD (c/n 27247) in June 1996, and have since retired this aircraft and two others (A6-EME/F) from service. A6-EMF was the last remaining Boeing 777-200 in its fleet (other than the ERs). The aircraft departed from Dubai International to Arizona via Boston for de-registration on 14th July. Since joining the Emirates fleet on 16th October 1996, A6-EMF flew an estimated 60 million kilometres (enough to fly to the moon and back nearly 80 times) and transported hundreds of thousands of passengers to destinations as far and wide as Warsaw and Ho Chi Minh City. Watch the final departure of A6-EMF below.


With seven aircraft phased out in 2014 and another 10 planned for retirement this year, the Emirates Aircraft Assets team of 35 employees in coordination with other teams are busy around the clock managing the retirement of older Emirates aircraft. This not only includes a significant amount of paperwork and administrative tasks, but also involves returning the aircraft in a similar physical condition to when it was received.

So far, in 2014 and 2015 Emirates have phased out three Boeing 777-200s and eight Airbus A340-500s on schedule, “which is no mean feat in itself” said Philip Audsley, Manager, Aircraft Assets. “For the year 2015/2016, we’re planning a total of 10 phase-outs” he added.


Depending on the aircraft agreement, Emirates either returns the aircraft to the lessor at the end of the lease term, or presents the aircraft to the market for sale.

“The process of giving back a leased aircraft actually begins up to a year prior to the return of the aircraft, and includes meetings with the leasing company, providing paperwork and service/history records, liaising with the procurement department regarding the high value items fitted to the aircraft (such as landing gears and engines), and multiple physical inspections,” Mr. Audsley continued.

Physically, the aircraft goes through a number of processes, including a ‘de-branding’ exercise, which includes removing Emirates livery and branding from the aircraft. In effect, the aircraft becomes unrecognisable that it was an Emirates aircraft, apart from the seating and carpet, which remains intact.

Emirates pilot, Captain Constantinos Nicolaou flew A6-EMF to its final destination in Arizona.

“She’s been good to us,” said Captain Nicolaou, as he bid farewell to the aircraft. “Who would have thought when we first received this Boeing 777-200 that less than two decades later Emirates would emerge as the world’s largest wide-body airline, and the world’s largest operator of Boeing 777s. I wonder what the next two decades will bring.”

Emirates is taking delivery of 24 new aircraft in 2014/15 and 26 new aircraft are planned to enter service this year, so retiring older aircraft helps Emirates to operate one of the youngest fleets in the skies today.

Emirates retired eight aircraft, comprised of four A340-500’s, two A330-300’s and one Boeing 777-200 so far in 2015. During the same period, the airline it took delivery of 14 new aircraft which include nine A380’s, four Boeing 777-300ER’s and the Boeing 777 Freighter.

Emirates A380 in flight

Including the most recent deliveries, the total number of aircraft in the Emirates fleet stands at 238, with an average age of 6.5 years, representing one of the youngest fleets in the skies. The airline has 270 additional aircraft on order, worth a total of $129 billion (around €114 billion), at list prices. Its order book includes 46 Boeing 777-300ERs, 115 Boeing 777-9Xs, 35 Boeing 777-8Xs and 74 Airbus A380s.

The four new aircraft underwent pre-service maintenance checks before being put into regular service. The maiden flights for the two Boeing 777-300ERs took passengers from Dubai to Kuwait and Bombay, while the first flight for the new A380 took off from Dubai to Düsseldorf. The Boeing 777 freighter was scheduled to fly directly from the Seattle area, where it was manufactured, to Hong Kong to pick up 103,000 kg of cargo.

Emirates-A380 economy class

Commenting on the record delivery of new aircraft, Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline said, “The Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 are two of the most advanced, efficient, and spacious commercial aircraft in the skies today. They are the mainstay of the Emirates fleet, giving us versatility in our route planning, and also the ability to offer our customers the latest features and comforts onboard”.

“Our long-standing commitments to both aircraft programmes continue to support jobs and innovation across the aerospace manufacturing supply chain around the world, particularly in the USA and Europe. And we will continue to work closely with both manufacturers to raise the bar on operational efficiency and onboard product features.”

His Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Adel Al Redha, added “Our modern and efficient aircraft not only help reduce environmental impact, but also enable Emirates to offer the latest facilities and provide our customers with a better onboard experience as well as the capacity we need to grow our operation. Our investment in modern wide-bodied aircraft has always been the cornerstone of our strategy and success.”

Emirates-cabin crewIn related news, dnata, part of the Emirates Group, reports that this summer is expected to be record-breaking for Dubai International airport (DXB) and the dnata team there. During June, July and August, dnata handled over 50,000 flights, 20 million passengers and 30 million bags from around the world. This volume means the dnata teams at Dubai handled a flight every 80 seconds, on average. In addition to its ground handling services, dnata also provides meet-and-assist and lounge services for passengers at both airports in Dubai. This summer, the company expects to welcome over 90,000 people with marhaba’s meet and greet service and 230,000 people in marhaba’s lounges throughout Dubai’s airports.

In the twelve months to May 2015, 339,344 travelled to and from Dubai from Dublin. 168,341 were inbound to Dublin and 171,003 were outbound to Dubai. These figures compare to 314,599 for Abu Dhabi (AUH) where 161,786 were inbound to Dublin and 152,813 outbound to Abu Dhabi.

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About the Author

Jim has had a life-long interest in military matters and aviation. Initially, he fused both of these interests together with a passion for military aviation, initially as a photographer. He has travelled extensively over the years and has been the guest of many European air forces, plus the air forces of the United States, Russia and others throughout the world. His first introduction to journalism coincided with an interest in the civil aviation industry was when he initially wrote for and later edited, ‘Aviation Ireland’, the club magazine of the Aviation Society of Ireland. Jim was a contributor to Flying in Ireland since its inception over 10 years ago and is now a key contributor to this site. He has also contributed items for a number of other aviation magazines and has produced a number of detailed contributions to Government policy documents, most recently the Irish Government’s White Paper on Defence. He is also deeply involved in the local community and voluntary sector and has worked both in local government and central government.

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