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Emirates has used this week’s Dubai Airshow to announce that following the success that it has seen with the limited rollout of its new Premium Economy cabin, it is committing to installing the cabin on a further 105 aircraft starting next year.
Emirates Premium Economy
Emirates took delivery of its first Premium Economy-equipped A380 at the beginning of December 2020, but it didn’t actually unveil the new cabin until 29 December before putting it into service almost immediately on 4 January 2021 (it was offered on the Dubai – London route).
The Premium Economy cabin found on the A380 (the only aircraft to offer this cabin) has a total of 56 seats set out in a 2-4-2 layout and offers customers a seat pitch of up to 40-inches. Each seat is 19.5 inches wide and reclines up to 8″ into a position Emirates describes as “a cradle position”.
The Premium Economy cabin is located at the front of the main deck of the A380 and it’s the seats in the first row that have 40″ of pitch. The remaining seats in the cabin offer the same 38″ of pitch that we see in the Premium Economy cabins of most other airlines.
All the Premium Economy seats come with a footrest (located under the seat directly ahead) as well as a leg rest that’s deployed from under the seat itself.
Each seat also offers a 6-way adjustable headrest…
…as well as a dining table that deploys from the center armrest and which can double as a cocktail table.
The in-flight entertainment screens are 13.3″ in size…
…and each seat offers a 3-pin power outlet as well as a USB port for smaller devices.
The Emirates Premium Economy rollout
At the time the Emirates Premium Economy cabin was unveiled, the airline said that it would be installed on the remaining five A380 aircraft that it still had on order as well as on its new Boeing 777X aircraft that are unlikely to be put into service before 2023.
As far as the rest of the fleet was concerned, the airline was still “considering” whether or not to retrofit the cabin to some/all of its older aircraft.
As of this week, however, the time for consideration is over and Emirates has emerged with a plan – 105 of its existing aircraft will be fitted with the new Premium Economy cabin starting “at the end of 2022”.
Out of the 115 Emirates A380s which don’t currently offer a Premium Economy cabin, 52 will be getting the upgrade. Out of the 144 Boeing 777s in the Emirates fleet – none of which currently has a Premium Economy cabin – 53 will be getting the upgrade (fleet numbers courtesy of planespotters.net).
Emirates has confirmed that all the A380s getting the Premium Economy cabin will be retrofitted to match the A380s that already offer the product (56 seats at the front of the main deck). The 777s will see the first 5 rows of their Economy Class cabin removed and replaced with 3 rows of Premium Economy seating in a 2-4-2 layout.
By the end of this year, Emirates will have 6 aircraft with a Premium Economy cabin (all A380s and all in a 4-cabin configuration) and by the end of the retrofit program, the airline should boast a total of 111 aircraft (A380s and 777s) offering Premium Economy seating.
For anyone who wants a better (less static) view of the Emirates A380 Premium Economy cabin, there’s a video from the launch that you can watch.
There’s also a newer video from Emirates (here), but I prefer the one I’ve inserted above.
Emirates has finally unveiled a plan for its Premium Economy cabin and it involves retrofitting it to 52 of its A380s and 53 of its 777s to leave it with 111 aircraft offering its mid-tier product. Unfortunately, the retrofitting process will not begin until the end of next year so for most of 2022, the airline will only have 6 aircraft on which customers will be able to experience the Premium Economy cabin and we’re likely to be deep into 2023 before the cabin will be available on a meaningful number of routes.