Emirates Eyes Premium Economy On 20-30 Planes By Mid-2023

Emirates is a later comer to the premium economy product, with the airline holding out for years against the trend. But around four years ago, Emirates cracked and confirmed it would introduce premium economy and set a launch date for 2020. However, the interventiond pandemic and derailed those plans. Last year, Emirates had a soft launch, putting some lucky economy class passengers into the soft seats on a handful of planes already fitted out with the seat. Now, Emirates is preparing for the hard launch in August.


Emirates to officially launch their premium economy cabin on just six A380s

Emirates President Tim Clark confirmed to Simple Flying last week that just six Airbus A380s are fitted out with premium economy seats so far, but that number will grow swiftly. The initial six aircraft are A6-EVN, A6-EVO, A6-EVP, A6-EVQ, A6-EVR, and A6-EVS. These A380s are the last to arrive at Emirates, with the eldest, A6-EVN, under two and half years old. So far, while some passengers have tried the seats out, Emirates hasn’t put their premium economy product on sale or officially launched it. But that’s about to change.

“Premium economy will kick in on August 1, and it will be on six of our A380s,” Tim Clark said in Doha last week. But the number of Emirates jets kitted out with premium economy seats will grow over the next two years.I would think that by this time next year, as those planes come down the line, we’ll probably have about 20 to 30 aircraft fitted out with a premium economy – on both the Boeing 777s and the A380s.

Emirates hopes to hit the sweet spot between economy and business class with their new premium economy product. Photo: Emirates

“The idea is that we’ll put all our aircraft into the conversion process between October 2022 and March 2024. The whole fleet will go in; our engineering organization will work back to back doing this. Eventually, premium economy will be everywhere. idea is that premium economy will become as ubiquitous as business class is today.”

Premium economy tickets recently went on sale, and initially, those six Airbus A380s will jet between their Dubai home port and London Heathrow (LHR), Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Sydney (SYD), and Christchurch (CHC). As more planes come out of the conversion process, the number of destinations where Emirates will offer premium economy seats will inevitably grow.

Emirates is using Recaro’s PL3530 seat as the building block of its premium economy class product. Photo: Emirates

A little bit of airline luxe that Tim Clark thinks will prove a hit with passengers

Sitting in the nose of the lower deck of the A380s, the new Emirates premium economy cabin targets passengers who like a little luxe but lack the wherewithal or inclination to pony up for often very expensive business class seats. Based on the Recaro PL3530 platform, the Emirates premium economy seat is the same seat you’ll find on British Airways’ latest aircraft in their premium economy cabin, in Vistara’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner premium economy cabin, and in China Southern A350 premium economy cabin.

Simple Flying had the chance to review this new cabin last November as part of the soft launch. The seats themselves have a pitch of up to 40 inches, a recline of 8 inches, and a width of 19.5 inches.

Tim Clark says forward demand for the premium economy cabin is strong – but he happily admits forward demand for all his cabins is strong! Nor does the Emirates boss think premium economy ticket sales will cannibalize the demand for business class. For all the bells and whistles of both cabins, the Emirates President says they are distinct products pitching to different market segments. For that reason, despite being a late convert to premium economy, Mr Clark thinks he’s onto a winner here.

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