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Emirates to build new hangar at Dubai airport

Vimala Vasan

ABU DHABI, Dec. 3

A HUGE new hangar complex is to be built at the Dubai International Airport, to give Emirates airline engineers a facility where they can work on the airline's future fleet in safety and comfort.

The eight hangars in the Dh 1-billion ($275 m) Emirates Engineering Centre, the biggest building project ever undertaken by the airline, will house every aircraft type in its fleet, including its new 575-seat Airbus A380s, which will be the largest in the skies when they enter service from 2006, the airline said in a statement on Tuesday.

Apart from hangars, the complex includes an aircraft-washing bay, administration block, mosque, waste-treatment plant, access roads, and parking for 2000 cars. It will be developed on a site next to the exhibition centre and will be ready to use by the end of 2005.

The Emirates Chairman, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, recently signed the project management contract with Alain le Pajolec, Managing Director of the French company, ADPI, Airoports de Paris International.

Sheikh Ahmed said, ``We place the highest possible importance on keeping our aircraft safe, modern and meticulously maintained. With an average age of only three years, our fleet is already one of the industry's youngest. At the Dubai Air Show in November 2001, in a move to make it more modern, we ordered new aircraft worth $15 billion, and will have more than 100 in operation by 2010. To house and care for this world-class fleet, only a world-class maintenance facility is good enough,'' Sheikh Ahmed said.

Emirates will also have its own dedicated passenger concourse, with 28 departure gates handling 20 million people a year. It will feature PCs and Internet access points, and enlarged catering facilities, food court and dining areas.

In a series of further moves to offer the best customer service both on the ground and in the air, Emirates recently opened the world's first check-in terminal exclusively for First and Business class travellers.

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