Cleaner aircraft cleaning from Emirates

Written by: Alwyn Brice |
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Emirates recently showcased its environmentally-friendly aircraft cleaning techniques.

The adoption of the dry wash has enabled the airline to save millions of litres of water every year. As indicated by the name, little or no water is involved in cleaning an aircraft, which is in contrast to conventional methods of aircraft cleaning.

Traditionally, aircraft are cleaned by using highly pressurised water. However, on average this technique may use more than 11,300 litres of water in the cleaning of an Airbus A380 aircraft: that adds up over a year, especially when a large number of A380s are in the fleet, as is the case with Emirates.

This prompted Emirates last year to try out dry wash techniques to clean its fleet of over 250 aircraft. In this technique, a liquid cleaning product is first applied manually to the entire external surface of the aircraft. Clean microfibre fabric is then used to remove the cleaning product, which has dried to a film, removing the dirt along with it, leaving the aircraft clean and polished. The aircraft is left with a fine protective film, which allows the painted surface to retain a gloss and shine for a longer period. In all, it takes a crew of 15 staff about 12 hours to clean an A380 and about nine hours to clean a Boeing 777.

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