Emirates’ First & Business Class Plans For New Fleet

Filed Under: Emirates

2019 has been a huge year for Emirates when it comes to planning for the future. Now the airline has revealed some details about what the cabins on their future fleet will look like. For the most part this isn’t too surprising, though overall I’d say it is disappointing.

Emirates’ Fleet Renewal Plans

At the beginning of 2019 we learned that A380 production will be ending in 2021, as Emirates realizes they can’t singlehandedly keep the A380 program alive.

Currently Emirates’ fleet consists of just over 250 aircraft, comprised exclusively of A380s, 777-200s, and 777-300s.

For their fleet renewal, Emirates has the following planned:

  • They have another nine A380s they’ll be taking delivery of between now and 2021
  • They have a total of 126 Boeing 777Xs on order (consisting primarily of 777-9s, though also some 777-8s), which is an order they’ve had for a long time, and which has even been reduced; the 777X is unfortunately delayed until 2021 at this point
  • They have 30 787-9s on order, expected to be delivered starting in 2023
  • They have 50 A350-900s on order, expected to be delivered starting in 2023

Emirates has 50 A350-900s on order

The reason this is all such news is because over the past 12 months:

  • They’ve reduced their A380 order
  • They’ve decided against the 787-10s they were going to order
  • They’ve decided against the A330-900neos they were going to order
  • They’ve reduced their 777X order

Emirates won’t actually get any A330-900neos

Clearly A380 production ending has completely thrown off plans for the airline, given how they’ve been all over the place.

With the above out of the way, there are some updates regarding the interiors we can expect for Emirates’ upcoming planes, as noted by Executive Traveller.

Emirates Won’t Have First Class on A350s & 787s

Emirates has revealed their cabin plans for their A350s and 787s. All 80 of these planes will feature business class, premium economy, and economy, but won’t feature first class.

As Emirates President Tim Clark describes it, the 787s “will be used on a variety of medium to long-haul operations that don’t, in our view, support a first class cabin.”

Emirates’ 787-9s won’t feature first class

Emirates plans on debuting their premium economy product on the A380 in 2020, so it’s interesting to see that this will be available fleet wide, it seems, at least at some point.

I’m not surprised to hear that Emirates won’t offer first class on these planes. That doesn’t spell the end of first class for Emirates, as the airline does plan on installing first class on their 777X aircraft. We don’t yet know how much of the 777X fleet will have first class (I don’t even think Emirates knows for sure yet), though it’s increasingly clear that plane will be used in premium long haul markets.

Furthermore, the A380 will stick around until the mid-2030s, so we can expect first class on most A380s and 777s.

Emirates’ A380 first class

It’s expected that the 777Xs will get the same excellent first class that Emirates has introduced on select 777-300ERs. Unfortunately only nine planes have those seats as of now, so it will be great to see the footprint of that expanded with the introduction of the 777X.

Emirates’ new first class

Emirates’ 777X, A350, And 787 Business Class

A few months ago I wrote about Emirates’ disappointing decision for their “new” 777X seat, and this will also be extended to their A350 and 787.

While Emirates is known globally as a top airline, overall they have a rather disappointing business class hard product. The backbone of their fleet is the 777, and a majority of their 777s have slightly angled seats in a 2-3-2 configuration, which isn’t exactly industry leading.

Emirates’ 777 business class

While we initially thought Emirates would be introducing a new business class seat on the 777X, in reality it will basically be the same seat they currently have on the A380.

These are pretty standard staggered business class seats, though at least they’re fully flat and feature direct aisle access.

Emirates’ A380 business class


Emirates’ A380 business class

To see this seat introduced throughout their fleet even on planes in the mid-2020s is quite disappointing. That’s especially true when you consider how much innovation we’ve seen with business class seats nowadays, as other airlines introduce seats with doors in business class.

Bottom Line

Ultimately this isn’t terribly surprising, but Emirates won’t be installing first class on the A350 and 787. Given their order of 100+ 777Xs, it’s not too surprising to see them focus on installing first class on that plane instead.

Furthermore, Emirates will be installing roughly the same business class product they currently have on the A380, on all of their 777Xs, 787s, and A350s. To me that’s the most disappointing development, since the product already isn’t cutting edge, and will be even less competitive in several years.

What do you make of Emirates’ cabin decisions for their upcoming aircraft?

Comments
  1. Gosh, I hope we’ll at least see a facelift of sorts. Soft updates here and there, and especially the terrible colour on the faux wood finish

  2. The Emirates faux wood paneling is SO ugly and dated that I can’t take anyone seriously who things otherwise.

  3. “These are pretty standard staggered business class seats, though at least they’re fully flat and feature direct aisle access.”

    I’m not a business class expert, but how is the A380 seat disappointing? Big footwell, almost entirely enclosed, big tray table, large TV, privacy divider, non-alcoholic drinks right next to you. How many other business class seats are more cutting edge? The Q-suites come to mind.

  4. Seats on B777 are a bit disapointment in Business Class specialy the middle seats. New seats are cuting edge in terms of design but still too much wood for my taste.

    Seats on A380 are good seats but a bit dated and again have too much wood. Non-alchoholic mini bar is good to have but not the essintal since you can always get drink from crew. Drinks in mini bar are warm since they are not placed into cool box. And also glass is a bit of hyigene issue since they are not always changed at outstations like BKK. I was flying from HKG to DXB via BKK with EK. Lady seating next to me had a drank water from the glass from mini bar. At BKK she left the plane and next passangers sat down at her seat for DXB, and I was watching if BKK ground crew or new cabin crew from EK would change glass and they did not change ut.

  5. I totally understand and agree with your point about the business class product not looking competitive (especially going forward) but I think you’re leaving something out.

    Most of the leading business products are from airlines that dont offer first class on a widespread basis (Qatar, Turkish, Delta One). Sure it’d be great if Emirates had a more compelling business product (and Lufthansa… and British Air…), but how much would that cannibalize the rates theyre charging on first class?

    Some airlines have done a better job at balancing both products (JAL comes to mind) but I think its pretty tough balance for airlines offering multiple levels of premium cabin service.

  6. Doesn’t matter one bit to me. I won’t fly any of the ME3. As long as Israelis (and more generally, Jews) and the LGBT community do not have legal rights in the home countries of their airlines, I don’t feel safe even getting off a plane in an airport in one of those countries. (Same goes for Turkish, which I also avoid.).

    They could paint the planes chartreuse, put a personal massage therapist at every seat, or pull out the seats all together and make it packed Standing Room Only subway car, and it wouldn’t affect me one iota.

  7. These seats are ugly, I’ll give you that, but they still seem pretty nice (coming from someone who hasn’t flown them). I don’t think all business class seats need to be “cutting edge” anyway; that essentially just means it’s not Q Suites or Apex Suites right? Very few airlines have those seats anyway. Emirates seems to be more concerned with their first class being cutting edge anyway.

  8. Neal,
    You do realise no one gives a fu*k what you think and you are losing on the good things in life. Your loss

  9. In the 2010’s Emirates paved the way, in the 2020’s Emirates will follow the rest.

    Actually, @Lucky this makes me realize you should write a ‘start and end of the decade’ post as well as highlights and tragic moments (RIP MH370/17) in the world. For yourself if you’d like but aviation in general. So much has changed in regard to service and airplanes, lounges, everything. Ohhh and obviously ‘best awards of the decade’ and ‘best mistake fares of the decade’ is needed as well lol.

  10. Actually James, a lot of people give a f**k about what I think, and my comments about various things often end up on the front page of the LA Times, including many times this year. You are apparently in the minority (although you clearly cared enough to make a jejune comment).

    And as to missing out – hardly. The luxury of many of the Asian carriers and the first class service I receive while overseas is both gratifying and satisfying. I wouldn’t trade my life with yours or anyone else’s.

    But thanks for playing. And have a lovely day and a happy holiday season.

  11. @Neal Z Just out of curiosity why do you lump Turkish in with the ME3? They don’t have the same visa/legal right restrictions for Israelis, and in fact I believe Turkish is one of the most-flown airlines to/from Israeli.

    I’ll give you that Turkey has a ways to go in terms of LGBT rights, but then most Asian countries with luxury carriers are in the same boat and you seem to have no problem flying those. Singapore, for example, has an (albeit unenforced) ban on same-sex activity for men, which is stricter than Turkey. Japan, China, Hong Kong all do not allow same-sex marriage, and that covers all of the notable first class products I can think of in Asia.

    By the way, nice brag re: comments in the LA Times on “various things.” James’ comment was definitely ridiculous and unwarranted but this type of response is rather childish as well. Being featured in the LA Times or elsewhere hardly gives you the right to espouse a moral high ground over others (which, even if unintentional, is how your original post comes across).

  12. @Chris, before this gets into to heavy and nasty political debate (and I’m not really looking to hijack Lucky’s page to do that), let me try to keep this to a simple travel-related topic. The countries of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Yemen will not even let you enter if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport (or, of course, if you are traveling on an Israeli passport). There are literally hundreds of examples, many of which can be found through a simple Google search.

  13. @Robby, yes Turkish does have a pretty significant number of flights in and out of TLV. It is, however, largely connecting traffic. As Dictator Erdogan further strengthens his hold on power and moves away from the largely secular nature that the Turkish government espoused for a generation, LGBT and Jewish rights erode. (I also sympathize with my many Armenian friends about the horrific Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s failure to even acknowledge that it happened, so perhaps my issue with Turkey is both broader and sui generis.) Bottom line is that I would not feel comfortable there as a gay Jew.

    And while there are certainly laws on the books in many countries throughout Asia which aren’t particularly progressive when it comes to the LGBT community, there are also largely unenforced. And one of the my favorite airlines, EVA (which has, IMO, the best business class product in their Royal Laurel Class), is based in Taiwan where there is full marriage equality.

  14. @Neil, I know that Israelis have issues entering those countries, but you said “and more generally, Jews”.

    As far as I know, none of the countries prevent Jews from entering based on their religion. Iran also has a big Jewish population, which many don’t talk about.

    Last, it is very difficult for people from certain countries to enter US…

  15. Entering a country other than your own is a privilege, not a right, so hardly something to complain about. Emirates and Etihad, two of the three ME3, are in the UAE, which isn’t mention in Neil’s list, further the UAE is very progressive and open, and even has synagogues.

    Go home, Neil.

  16. I am very glad that the vile Zionist nonsense of Neal Z is being refuted by the other forumers. In fact, I would be in favour of One Mile at a Time banning this Zionist troll permanently from the forum in his entirety. The way Zionists flip flop between playing the victim of so called ”anti Semitism” and spewing racist vitriol is really quite disgusting and morally reprehensible and that is not even getting into the way they oppress and murder Palestinians on a daily basis.

    For the record, Turkey is the world’s sixth most visited country and Dubai is one of the world’s top ten visited nations on earth, with millions of people from ALL nationalities going there, Jews and Israelis included. By contrast, Iranians, Jewish Iranians included, are banned from entering the US and the same goes for Syrians.

    People with stamps from Muslim majority countries are routinely banned from entering Israel, as are Westerners, including Jewish people openly critical of the Israeli governments horrific human rights record.

    Middle Eastern people are frequently ejected from American airliners for frivolous reasons and Ben Gurion Airport is notorious for strip searching and interrogating passengers.

    Dubai, Bahrain, Turkey, Iran and Morocco all have Jewish communities, which unlike Palestinians are not under occupation or siege, nor do they have their homes demolished routinely by bulldozers.

    As a gay Jew, Neal Z should be more concerned about the atrocities Israel commits in the name of people like him on a daily basis and be humbled that Turkey and Dubai are more open to tourists of different nationalities than Israel ever has been.

  17. Emirates will end up with an excellent business class product if the product from the Airbus 380s is incorporated into their Boeing 777 fleet.

  18. For the record, Turkey is the world’s sixth most visited country and Dubai is one of the world’s top ten visited nations on earth, with millions of people from ALL nationalities going there, Jews and Israelis included. By contrast, Iranians, Jewish Iranians included, are banned from entering the US and the same goes for Syrians.

    People with stamps from Muslim majority countries are routinely banned from entering Israel, as are Westerners, including Jewish people openly critical of the Israeli governments horrific human rights record.

    Middle Eastern people are frequently ejected from American airliners for frivolous reasons and Ben Gurion Airport is notorious for strip searching and interrogating passengers.

    Dubai, Bahrain, Turkey, Iran and Morocco all have Jewish communities, which unlike Palestinians are not under occupation or siege, nor do they have their homes demolished routinely by bulldozers.

    As a gay Jew, Neal Z should be more concerned about the atrocities Israel commits in the name of people like him on a daily basis and be humbled that Turkey and Dubai are more open to tourists of different nationalities than Israel ever has been.

  19. @ Neal Z – You need to stick to flying EL AL. With their policy of not not flying on the Sabbath, seating women away from the ultra Orthodox, strip searching and interrogating goyim, especially Arabs, and transporting toxic cargo which polluted the Netherlands when one of their planes crashed there, you will fit right in.

    In the meantime, Turkish Airlines and the ME3 can fly higher and higher, for the benefit of ALL nationalities.

  20. Returned from Australia via Dubai to Glasgow. Business class standards have dropped very badly, travelling at least once a year to Adelaide previously economy where I boasted on the standards in this area. On a trip 18 months ago our stewardess spilt my friends food tray over her and barley received an apology. Identify an email when I returned home and still wait for a reply. Not good
    This year in October on my return flight Travelling business The usual Flight socks and pack of shaving gear etc. Was not supplied. For approx. 20 hours I required a shave and a wash before I traveled another 2 and a half hours in your courtesy car. Not good Best thing about my journey was sociable driver on my way home.. anyway I was given a razor from the Stewart after explaining I required a shave while the rest of the looked at me as if I was asking for the world The standards are definitely dropping from the state of the lounges where men are allowed to sit with feet on the tables in Dubai staff on the planes seem to have been reduced. Complimentary goods etc etc surely paying almost £5000 for a flight this must be improved. After numerous flights I am seriously thinking of changing flying with another company. A reply would be appreciated.

  21. @ SAS — Neal Z. is a long-time reader, and while you may disagree with his perspective, as long as the discourse is civil I’m inclined to let the conversation and sharing of viewpoints continue.

  22. @ Tiffany – Neal Z is a Zionist troll, his posts being uncivil, off topic and factually incorrect. His claim homosexuals, Jews and Israelis are being banned from Turkey and the Gulf states are untrue.

    Therefore the sooner he is banned, the better, and since his trolling appears to have stopped ( for now at least ) the possibility does exist that is exactly what has happened.

  23. It’s not that bad if you’re not a regular first class customer. I actually think their A380 business class seat is better for me (at a slim 6ft 2) than Qatar’s Q suites. There’s a more width for stomach sleepers and a little more length. You can’t beat the bar on the A380 either. Don’t get me wrong, the Q suites are amazing and the A35K is a spectacularly quiet and comfortable plane that’s easily the best twinjet ever made. I still think overall QR is slightly better than EK because of the fantastic soft product and DOH being much, much better than DXB for transit passengers but if you can look past the tacky fake wood laminate and the lack of a door, EK’s A380 business hard product is slightly better than QR’s A35K Q suite hard product.

  24. It’s all about buying new aircrafts and begging kickbacks into the pockets of highest management level. The service of Emirates for business class has gone downhill over the years. Business class services from New Zealand and Australia are terrible, they have cut down in so many ways that it feels like they are soon to be budget class airline of US. I had a personal Business Class travel ordeal last Friday 13th December flying Auckland to Bali. I have written a complaint to Emirates but I am convinced that nothing will happen as those morons sitting in their million dollar offices are enjoying every possible perks and will not cut them but kill every possible service for customers in the name of reducing cost.

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