Premium economy onboard Emirates is proving popular. So much so that the Gulf carrier has announced a programme to retrofit dozens of its Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft with premium economy cabins. 

“Since we introduced our Premium Economy seats a year back, we’ve received a hugely positive response,” Emirates President Tim Clark announced on November 16, 2021. 

Premium economy will be installed on 52 Emirates A380s and 53 Boeing 777s. Retrofitting 105 planes will take 18 months, Emirates explained, starting from the end of 2022. The announcement was made during the 2021 Dubai Airshow, which started on November 14, 2021. 

“As Emirates has done with our signature First, Business and full-service Economy travel experiences, we intend to further develop our Premium Economy into a distinctive Emirates experience that is unmatched in the industry,” Clark promised.

Emirates is not stopping there. The carrier also teased plans for a new business class on board its 777, where seats would be arranged in a 1-2-1 layout, meaning everyone would get aisle access. Currently, the airline’s 777-300ER aircraft have a 2-3-2 layout in business class. 

Clark said: “We are also considering a brand new Business Class product. More details will be revealed in due course.” 

Emirates has been slow to introduce a premium economy cabin to its aircraft. So far, premium economy is available only on Airbus A380s delivered to Emirates in 2021. That means six of the superjumbos with four-class seating will be in the Emirates fleet by the end of December 2021. By the end of the retrofit programme, Emirates will have a total of 111 A380 and 777 aircraft with premium economy. 

To install premium economy on the 777, Emirates will remove five rows of economy class seats to give space for 24 premium economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. On the A380, premium economy comprises 56 seats at the front of the main deck, also in a 2-4-2 configuration. 

While the retrofitting programme will take some months, those looking to try out premium economy on an Emirates flight in 2021 will need to book onto an A380 flight to Frankfurt, London Heathrow, New York JFK or Paris. 

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