Emirates bets big on A380, B777 facelifts in multibillion-dollar project

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Emirates has announced a large-scale fleet retrofit project that includes plans to upgrade the interior cabins of 120 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft. 

The gulf carrier has bet big on passenger experience, stating that the project represents the airline’s investment to “ensure Emirates’ customers ‘fly better’ for the coming years”.  

The project, set to commence in November 2022, will be managed entirely by Emirates’ engineering team, according to the airline’s statement. 

“The target is to completely retrofit four Emirates aircraft from start to finish every month, continuously for over two years,” said the airline. 

“Once the 67 earmarked A380s are refreshed and back in service, 53 777s will undergo their facelift. This will see nearly 4,000 brand new Premium Economy seats installed, 728 First Class suites refurbished and over 5,000 Business Class seats upgraded to a new style and design when the project is complete in April 2025,” the airline continued. 

Emirates is the largest A380 operator with a fleet of 123 aircraft of this type. The airline operates more than half of its A380s, but expects to operate up to 90 by the end of the year according to Richard Jewsbury, divisional vice president UK at Emirates. 

The news of the retrofit program follows an earlier announcement when the airline revealed a $2 billion-dollar investment to improve its inflight passenger experience under as part of its ‘Fly Better’ program. 

Emirates undertook retrofit trials on an A380 in July 2022 when its engineers disassembled the cabin piece-by-piece and logged every step, according to the airline’s statement. 

“No other airline has handled a retrofit of this magnitude in-house, and there’s no blueprint for such an undertaking. Therefore, Emirates engineering teams have been planning and testing extensively, to establish and streamline processes, and identify and address any possible snags.” 

The airline has set up a “cross-disciplinary team” to “review the planning process, address any issues, and track updates on various aspects of the project such as procurement, staffing, and training”. 

Soon, Emirates’ passengers will have more legroom on the airline’s new Premium Economy cabin class. 

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