Emirates Airbus A350-900: Layout & Routes Revealed

Emirates Airbus A350-900: Layout & Routes Revealed

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We’re just months from Emirates Airline taking delivery of its first Airbus A350. While there are still some unknowns about this jet for the Dubai-based carrier, there’s now a major update — the airline has put its first A350 flights on sale, and has also revealed the jet’s configuration (though not the details of the seats just yet).

Let’s look at everything we know about this exciting new aircraft for Emirates.

Emirates has 65 A350-900s on order

In 2019, Emirates placed a firm order for 50 Airbus A350-900s, and in 2023 the airline placed a firm order for an additional 15 of these jets, bringing the order book to 65 aircraft. For context, Emirates’ fleet currently consists of just over 250 aircraft, including Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s. The airline then has over 300 aircraft on order, spread across three types of aircraft:

  • Emirates has 65 Airbus A350s on order, all of which are for the A350-900 variant; these are expected to be delivered starting in 2024
  • Emirates has 35 Boeing 787s on order, with 20 being for the 787-8 variant and 15 being for the 787-10 variant; there’s no timeline for when these planes will be delivered, though
  • Emirates has 205 Boeing 777Xs on order, with 35 being for the 777-8 variant and 170 being for the 777-9 variant; the 777-9s should be delivered starting in 2025, and the 777-8s should be delivered starting in 2030

Historically Emirates was all about fleet consistency, and was focused exclusively on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777. However, with Airbus A380 production having ended in 2021 (and these planes eventually being retired), and with the Boeing 777X being delayed until at least 2025 (representing a five year delay), the airline knew it had to hedge its bets when it comes to fleet renewal.

Interestingly Emirates had initially ordered both the A350-900 and A330-900neo, but the airline eventually streamlined that order to exclusively include the A350.

Emirates has also ordered the Boeing 787

Emirates A350-900s will be delivered as of mid-2024

Emirates was initially supposed to take delivery of its first Airbus A350 in May 2023. As seems to be the norm in the airline industry nowadays, that has been delayed considerably, and the airline will now be taking delivery of its first Airbus A350 in August 2024, with plans to put the jet into service as of September 2024.

Once deliveries start, expect Emirates to add these planes to its fleet quickly, as all jets should be delivered by early 2028.

Emirates will take delivery of its first A350s in 2024

Emirates A350-900 interiors & passenger experience

The plan is that the initial batch of A350s will be in a three cabin configuration, featuring business class, premium economy, and economy. It’s possible that future batches of A350s will have a different layout.

Emirates has now revealed the layout of the first 10 A350s (it remains to seen if the same configuration will be found on subsequent jets or not). They’ll feature 312 seats, including 32 business class seats, 21 premium economy seats, and 259 economy seats. So while we know the number of seats these planes will have, Emirates hasn’t yet revealed the details of the cabins for its Airbus A350-900s.

For the time being, A350s aren’t expected to feature first class, which is an interesting direction for Emirates to take. Emirates has by far the largest international first class footprint of any airline in the world, and currently has first class on a vast majority of its aircraft. That will no longer be the case going forward.

The biggest question now is exactly which business class product Emirates will install on its A350s. Emirates’ 777-300ER business class is incredibly underwhelming, and Emirates has been pretty tight-lipped about what we should expect from business class going forward.

What we do know is that Emirates plans to introduce a new business class product in the coming months, which will be installed on retrofitted 777-300ERs, as well as on newly delivered A350s and 777Xs. This product will feature direct aisle access, and will be produced in partnership with Safran. In a separate post, I speculated about what this seat could look like.

Emirates has now uploaded the business class seat map for the A350, which clearly shows a staggered configuration in business class.

Emirates A350-900 business class seat map

One other exciting thing about Emirates’ A350s is that the airline will finally offer high speed Wi-Fi for the first time. Emirates’ A350s are expected to feature Inmarsat’s GX Aviation Wi-Fi. This should represent a massive improvement to Wi-Fi speeds, compared to Emirates’ current OnAir product, which is among the worst in the industry.

Emirates will install premium economy on A350s

Emirates A350-900 routes & destinations

Emirates intends to use its first batch of A350s for short and medium haul flights (so presumably these planes don’t have crew rest facilities). The A350 has incredible range and fuel economy, and is a bit smaller than the 777-300ER (and way smaller than the A380).

Long term, you can expect that the plane will primarily be used in lower demand or high frequency markets, especially ones with less premium demand (given that these planes won’t feature first class).

Emirates has now revealed its first nine planned A350 routes. The A350 will operate to the following destinations out of Dubai (DXB):

  • To Bahrain (BAH) as of September 15, 2024, on the EK839/840 frequencies
  • To Kuwait (KWI) as of September 16, 2024, on the EK853/854 frequencies
  • The Ahmedabad (AMD) as of October 27, 2024, on the EK538/539 frequencies
  • To Mumbai (BOM) as of October 27, 2024, on the EK502/503 frequencies
  • To Bologna (BLQ) as of December 1, 2024, on the EK93/94 frequencies
  • To Lyon (LYS) as of December 1, 2024, on the EK81/82 frequencies
  • To Muscat (MCT) as of December 1, 2024, on the EK866/867 frequencies
  • To Edinburgh (EDI) as of November 4, 2024, on the EK23/24 frequencies
  • To Colombo (CMB) as of January 1, 2025, on the EK654/655 frequencies
Expect the A350 to be used for lower demand markets than the A380

Bottom line

Emirates is expected to take delivery of its first of 65 Airbus A350-900s in the coming months. Emirates hasn’t otherwise taken delivery of any new jets in quite some time, so this will be an exciting development for the airline.

We’re finally starting to learn some details of what we can expect from Emirates’ new A350s. The planes will enter service as of September 15, 2024, and will be in a three cabin configuration, with business class, premium economy, and economy.

We should see Emirates’ new business class seat launch on this aircraft, and it’s expected to be a staggered product.

What are you expecting from Emirates’ Airbus A350s?

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  1. iamhere Guest

    Interesting that Emirates and other airlines do fly to Kuwait. Given your recent experience I would prefer most other airlines.

  2. Sam A Guest

    Think they are missing a big opportunity by not having at least a small 4 seat First like SQ on the 777. Now they are just one of many competing head to head with similar seats to Qatar, BA, even Lufthansa and others, rather than at least having a small premium offering.

  3. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    Sad that they swapped out the A330NEO... it was one of that aircraft's last opportunities to make inroads into a global operator's fleet.

    IINM, Delta and Malaysia are the only two major network connectors to have it. I guess one could add TAP and Garuda to that list.

    The rest being charter/niche carriers. :(

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Virgin Atlantic would like to have a word with you.
      The Chinese carriers have a lot of 330s to replace. The 339 isn’t dead yet

    2. Prestwick Pioneer Guest

      The 330neo basically exists to dampen 787 sales. It has sold a few hundred units so it is not a failure at all given it was a lowish cost development and the tech might be useful for new generation MRTTs and if Airbus actually launch a 330-900F. The 330/350 can also share a common type rating increasing its flexibility with carriers. I would also like to see more acceptance because its actually a good performer....

      The 330neo basically exists to dampen 787 sales. It has sold a few hundred units so it is not a failure at all given it was a lowish cost development and the tech might be useful for new generation MRTTs and if Airbus actually launch a 330-900F. The 330/350 can also share a common type rating increasing its flexibility with carriers. I would also like to see more acceptance because its actually a good performer. We had one operating flights for another carrier and the fuel burn is a distant memory but it was about 4-4.2T per hour.

  4. Kyalo Guest

    So the 777 remains on the Adelaide route. ??? Okay

  5. Nikojas Guest

    Edinburgh is a new route launch with the new A359 then?

    1. dundj Guest

      It's a very delayed return from pre-Covid, which used to be on the 777.

  6. Ivan Guest

    777X does not even has TIA so without that it can't start certification flights its looking more likely that its going to be delayed until 2026.

  7. Tim Dunn Diamond

    The fact that Airbus is delivering A350s while Boeing can't make any promises about the 777X and is well behind schedule on the 787 deliveries is why EK has no choice but to go w/ the 359.
    EK has made a big deal about the durability of the Rolls Royce engines on the A350-1000 which Rolls acknowledges needs to improve but Qatar and Etihad both use the 35K. Rolls says that improvements should happen...

    The fact that Airbus is delivering A350s while Boeing can't make any promises about the 777X and is well behind schedule on the 787 deliveries is why EK has no choice but to go w/ the 359.
    EK has made a big deal about the durability of the Rolls Royce engines on the A350-1000 which Rolls acknowledges needs to improve but Qatar and Etihad both use the 35K. Rolls says that improvements should happen long before EK receives all of its 359s so it is still very possible that some of the 359s will be converted to 35Ks.
    both 350 models plus the 787 and even the 777X are significantly smaller than the A380 which is part of why EK needs a much bigger airport; more flights on smaller aircraft is a big change in business model for EK

    1. Mason Guest

      Bet the OMAAT users will like and agree with this comment of Tim Dunn as if nothing happened in last few days, since he's being (rather) negative about Boeing

      I'm on the no one's side tho.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      just as a reminder that I am a diamond participant because enough people agree w/ what I write.
      There have always been certain airline employees that don't want to hear what I say (read what I write) but I have always participated in airline social media because I understand the industry and provide a perspective that most don't get.
      Boeing is a sad American story right now.
      Airlines that have heavily pitched...

      just as a reminder that I am a diamond participant because enough people agree w/ what I write.
      There have always been certain airline employees that don't want to hear what I say (read what I write) but I have always participated in airline social media because I understand the industry and provide a perspective that most don't get.
      Boeing is a sad American story right now.
      Airlines that have heavily pitched their wagon to Boeing's commitments are paying a high price.
      Airbus hasn't got everything figured out but are producing very solid products and the A350-1000 is a very solid product. I suspect that EK will have no choice but to jump on the 35K bandwagon even as Rolls gets the XWB 97 engine working even better.

    3. Mason Guest

      @Tim Dunn

      Fair enough. It's not like I'm an anti-Airbus guy, but rather I'm not biased towards them. What I'm mostly concerned about is that Airbus isn't perfect by any means - but since Boeing has been making lot of problems in last few years, it does make it look like Airbus is going spotless. Like, the A350 paint cracks, even if it was happening on only one airline (QR), that doesn't mean it's not...

      @Tim Dunn

      Fair enough. It's not like I'm an anti-Airbus guy, but rather I'm not biased towards them. What I'm mostly concerned about is that Airbus isn't perfect by any means - but since Boeing has been making lot of problems in last few years, it does make it look like Airbus is going spotless. Like, the A350 paint cracks, even if it was happening on only one airline (QR), that doesn't mean it's not a problem, but everyone's acting like it is. I just imagine how would the things have gone if QR 787s had the same problem instead. Even with the problems the Boeing has caused over the years, they should still exist and act as a functioning plane builder, or the monopoly starts and we know what will follow that (who else than Chinese/Russian airlines gonna actually buy Chinese/Russian planes instead of Boeing planes).

      Hopefully the Trent XWB-97 problems get solved and becomes more reliable for desert operations. 777-9 isn't the most ideal replacement of 777-300ER, but is rather A350-1000.

      (Now that I wrote such defensive comment for an American firm, I can't help but laugh again at the guy who said that I'm a Chinese spy)

    4. Mamad Guest

      Spot on Mason! Couldn't have said it better, Boeing needs to recover. Even Airbus needs Boeing to stay competitive, step up their game, and maintain an "Healthy duopoly", because:
      1. Boeing's mess also puts more regulatory scrutiny on Airbus too and causes delays in their new products (A350-1000 for the 'Project Sunrise' and A321 XLR).
      2. Airbus cannot absorb all the demand and produce the airplanes fast enough. This in turn could bolster...

      Spot on Mason! Couldn't have said it better, Boeing needs to recover. Even Airbus needs Boeing to stay competitive, step up their game, and maintain an "Healthy duopoly", because:
      1. Boeing's mess also puts more regulatory scrutiny on Airbus too and causes delays in their new products (A350-1000 for the 'Project Sunrise' and A321 XLR).
      2. Airbus cannot absorb all the demand and produce the airplanes fast enough. This in turn could bolster a new strong competitor (COMAC, even though they are currently far from being one) and also create safety lapses in Airbus if they try to increase production too fast.
      However, the paint cracks issue wasn't limited to QR, but other affected airlines just didn't make a fuss about them. Lufthansa, Finnair, Cathay Pacific, Etihad (who hadn't even flown the jet commercially yet), and Air Caraibes also mentioned some cosmetic issues related to the paint and they more likely reached some sort of agreement with Airbus to repaint the affected planes. Akbar Al Baker just wanted to gain something from Airbus (I don't know what exactly, could be negotiations for future planes as this is a common behavior from him).
      Also, the 787 did have paint issues. There have been some pretty visible peeling problems affecting wing and horizontal stabilizer surfaces and Boeing temporarily addressed them by asking companies to use speed tape over the affected areas.
      But, I do agree with you that the Boeing bashing by some medias is ridiculous as some issues that are unrelated with the plane type would be presented in a light that make it seem that it's Boeing fault. And any article reporting an airline incident involving Boeing would systematically have the plane type (or at the very least "Boeing") in the headline.

      @Tim Dunn, I am one of the reader who actually likes to read you. Your comments and analysis are always well detailed and substantiated by data. Plus, they usually go in depth and deal with aspects that I would not even think about.

    5. Speedbird Guest

      Tim Dunn is usually pretty reasonable except when talking about Delta

  8. Daryl Stuart Guest

    The A380 is why Emirates has been so successful (image/status symbol). Now they'll be just like any other carrier, real risk of them being gone in 10 years if they don't differentiate themselves! Competition will move in quickly as soon as they see weakness and opportunity.

  9. Mike O. Guest

    There will probably be another layout later on with a much lower density as these won't have crew rests to start with hence being used on shorter, thinner routes before they stretch its legs on longer segments.

    There's also potential for a -1000 order which would be ideal to replace some earlier -300ERs.

    1. Kyalo Guest

      My guess too. We should expect another less denser layout.

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Prestwick Pioneer Guest

The 330neo basically exists to dampen 787 sales. It has sold a few hundred units so it is not a failure at all given it was a lowish cost development and the tech might be useful for new generation MRTTs and if Airbus actually launch a 330-900F. The 330/350 can also share a common type rating increasing its flexibility with carriers. I would also like to see more acceptance because its actually a good performer. We had one operating flights for another carrier and the fuel burn is a distant memory but it was about 4-4.2T per hour.

0
Mamad Guest

Spot on Mason! Couldn't have said it better, Boeing needs to recover. Even Airbus needs Boeing to stay competitive, step up their game, and maintain an "Healthy duopoly", because: 1. Boeing's mess also puts more regulatory scrutiny on Airbus too and causes delays in their new products (A350-1000 for the 'Project Sunrise' and A321 XLR). 2. Airbus cannot absorb all the demand and produce the airplanes fast enough. This in turn could bolster a new strong competitor (COMAC, even though they are currently far from being one) and also create safety lapses in Airbus if they try to increase production too fast. However, the paint cracks issue wasn't limited to QR, but other affected airlines just didn't make a fuss about them. Lufthansa, Finnair, Cathay Pacific, Etihad (who hadn't even flown the jet commercially yet), and Air Caraibes also mentioned some cosmetic issues related to the paint and they more likely reached some sort of agreement with Airbus to repaint the affected planes. Akbar Al Baker just wanted to gain something from Airbus (I don't know what exactly, could be negotiations for future planes as this is a common behavior from him). Also, the 787 did have paint issues. There have been some pretty visible peeling problems affecting wing and horizontal stabilizer surfaces and Boeing temporarily addressed them by asking companies to use speed tape over the affected areas. But, I do agree with you that the Boeing bashing by some medias is ridiculous as some issues that are unrelated with the plane type would be presented in a light that make it seem that it's Boeing fault. And any article reporting an airline incident involving Boeing would systematically have the plane type (or at the very least "Boeing") in the headline. @Tim Dunn, I am one of the reader who actually likes to read you. Your comments and analysis are always well detailed and substantiated by data. Plus, they usually go in depth and deal with aspects that I would not even think about.

0
iamhere Guest

Interesting that Emirates and other airlines do fly to Kuwait. Given your recent experience I would prefer most other airlines.

0
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