On the occasion of World Environment Day, Emirates is showcasing an environmentally friendly aircraft cleaning technique that has enabled the airline to save millions of litres of water every year. Emirates uses the ‘aircraft drywash’ technique to clean its aircraft. As indicated by the name, little or no water is involved in cleaning the aircraft, which is in contrast to conventional methods of aircraft cleaning which typically use thousands of litres of water per wash.
Traditionally aircraft are cleaned by using highly pressurised water between four to five times every year. However, on an average this technique uses more than 11,300 litres of water to clean one Airbus A380 aircraft and more than 9,500 litres of water to clean a Boeing 777 aircraft every time.
Since early 2016 Emirates has been using an aircraft drywash technique 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 and leaving the aircraft clean and polished. It takes a crew of 15 staff about 12 hours to clean an A380 and about 9 hours to clean a Boeing 777 aircraft.
Watch a video of an Emirates Airbus A380 undergoing a drywash at the Emirates Engineering hangar in Dubai.
There are multiple advantages to using the drywash technique. The first is that there is little use of water to clean the aircraft. When consolidated over its fleet of 260 aircraft, Emirates saves over 11 million litres of water every year. Additionally the waterless aircraft wash technique ensures that the aircraft remains cleaner for a longer period of time thereby reducing the number of times the aircraft has to be washed to about three times a year, and also reducing the aircraft’s fuel consumption because of less accumulation of dirt.
Emirates is committed to being an environmentally responsible airline and operates one of the world’s youngest and most fuel efficient fleet of aircraft. In addition to the adopting drywashing for its aircraft, the airline has adopted a number of other energy efficiency initiatives across its operations.
A Greener Tomorrow Through its ‘A Greener Tomorrow’ programme, Emirates has provided funding to non-profit organisations across the world who work to conserve and safeguard their local environments. Funds for the initiative are raised entirely through the Emirates Group’s internal recycling programmes. For more information, read the Emirates Group Environmental Report 2016-17 here.
Emirates operates daily scheduled flights between Malta and Dubai via Larnaca, Cyprus, on a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.