Emirates Retrofitting 191 A380s & 777s With New Interiors

Emirates Retrofitting 191 A380s & 777s With New Interiors

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In August 2022, Emirates announced plans to retrofit 120 aircraft with new interiors. The airline has now revealed plans to expand this project by nearly 60%. Emirates now plans to retrofit an additional 71 aircraft in a similar way, meaning 191 existing aircraft will have new cabins installed.

While this is primarily being done in order to introduce premium economy on these jets, there are changes coming to other cabins as well. Let’s recap all the details.

How Emirates will retrofit 191 planes with new cabins

Emirates has plans to retrofit a total of 191 aircraft with new interiors. This includes a total of 110 Airbus A380s and a total of 81 Boeing 777s. This represents an additional 43 A380s and 28 777s compared to the original plan. As Emirates views it, this will allow the airline to keep flying these planes well into the mid-2030s (which is roughly when Emirates plans to retire its A380s).

Emirates’ fleet currently consists of around 250 jets, so that means that over 75% of the Dubai-based carrier’s fleet will be getting new interiors, which is quite impressive. Emirates already started this retrofit project on the Airbus A380 last year, and the plan is for work to start on the Boeing 777 fleet as of July 2024.

When all is said and done, Emirates will have installed 1,894 refreshed first class seats, 11,182 upgraded business class seats, 8,104 next generation premium economy seats, and 21,814 economy seats. In addition to that, carpets and stairs will be upgraded, and cabin interior panels will be refreshed with new tones and design motifs, including the ghaf trees that are native to the UAE.

Here’s how Emirates President Tim Clark describes these plans:

“We’re topping up our multi-billion dollar investment in the retrofit programme to introduce cutting-edge cabin products on more of our A380s and Boeing 777s, demonstrating a clear commitment to elevating the customer experience with a best-in-class suite of products across every cabin. The addition of more aircraft  fitted with our newest generation seats, updated cabin finishings and a contemporary colour palette also marks a significant step in ensuring more customers can consistently experience our premium products across both aircraft types.”

Emirates Airbus A380 retrofit plans

Emirates is reconfiguring 110 Airbus A380s with new interiors. Emirates has already retrofitted 22 aircraft since starting this project, meaning that 88 more A380s will be getting a refresh. This project takes around 16 days per aircraft, and we don’t have a timeline for when this will be complete.

Emirates’ reconfigured Airbus A380s feature 56 premium economy seats, in a 2-4-2 configuration. These seats are at the very front of the lower deck, replacing economy seats.

These Emirates A380s feature many of the same cabin finishes that you’ll find on Emirates’ six newest A380s, which already boast premium economy. These planes have the new design motif, which is a bit less “in your face” than the old Las Vegas in the 1990s decor that Emirates is known for.

Emirates’ updated A380 shower suite
Emirates’ updated first class cabin

Emirates Boeing 777 retrofit plans

Emirates is reconfiguring 81 Boeing 777s with new interiors, and this project will start as of July 2024. This will take around two weeks per aircraft, and it remains to be seen when this work will be complete.

For the first time, Emirates has now revealed the configuration for the updated 777-300ERs. They’ll feature 332 seats, comprised of:

  • Eight first class seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration
  • 40 business class seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration
  • 24 premium economy seats, in a 2-4-2 configuration
  • 260 economy seats, in a 3-4-3 configuration

As a point of comparison, currently Emirates’ 777-300ERs have 356 seats, so this represents a capacity reduction of 24 seats. Essentially we’re seeing 46 economy seats removed, two business class seats removed (in order to accommodate all-new cabins), and 24 premium economy seats added.

Emirates 777s are getting updated interiors

A new 777 business class is the most exciting development

While Emirates is of course known for being a great airline, there’s one major gap in the premium passenger experience. Specifically, the Boeing 777 is the backbone of Emirates’ fleet, yet most 777s have angled business class seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. That’s woefully uncompetitive.

The good news is that Emirates finally plans to introduce a new fully flat seat with direct aisle access on 777s, which is long overdue:

  • We know that the new seat is being designed in partnership with Safran
  • We know that Emirates plans to streamline seats across its fleet, and it’s expected that similar business class seats will also be installed on newly delivered Airbus A350s and Boeing 777Xs
  • Based on the seat map of the A350, we know the new business class will be in a staggered configuration, so my speculation is that the most likely option is that Emirates has selected the Safran Unity seat, though we should find out for sure pretty soon

What I find most disappointing is that Emirates doesn’t have plans to install its new 777 first class on more planes, as this is currently only available on nine 777s. It’s sad to think the airline is retrofitting 777s with plans of keeping them around for a decade, but doesn’t plan to introduce a first class product that was first rolled out in 2017.

I’ve gotta say, Emirates is giving Lufthansa a run for its money on this product rollout. Just nine planes having this product after seven years feels more like a gimmick than a good faith product rollout.

Don’t expect Emirates’ new 777 first class on more jets

Bottom line

Emirates has plans to reconfigure 191 existing jets with new cabins, including 110 Airbus A380s and 81 Boeing 777s. The A380 retrofit project is already well underway, while the 777 retrofit project is expected to start as of July 2024.

This represents over 75% of Emirates’ fleet, so we’re seeing quite some updates. The most significant developments here are that all aircraft are getting premium economy, and on top of that, 777s are getting a new business class. It’s just too bad Emirates isn’t introducing its new first class on 777s.

What do you make of Emirates’ fleet retrofit plans?

Conversations (18)
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  1. RF Diamond

    Spending all this money and NOT installing the new first class product is bonkers.

  2. Paul Guest

    Hi can you reduce the constant POP up banners, I have been reviewing this site for many years but recently this has got to an overwhelming level and detracts from your great posts.

  3. Patti Guest

    Flew the A380 in BC retrofitted less than 2 weeks ago. Don't like it. Significantly squeezed the space where it's darn tight to get into your seat.

  4. Bruce Member

    To be fair, Emirates never really promised to roll out the 777 new first class across the fleet. But I digress. The main point here is that more A380s are staying for longer (almost the entire A380 fleet) which to me signals that the 777X is not coming for a while yet.

  5. Phillip Diamond

    “I’ve gotta say, Emirates is giving Lufthansa a run for its money on this product rollout.”

    It’s not often I defend Emirates over their advertising manipulations but to be fair, Emirates never said they will roll out the new first class to the rest of the fleet! It was always to be used to maintain the halo effect while the majority of the product is far inferior! This is an entirely different situation to Lufthansa’s...

    “I’ve gotta say, Emirates is giving Lufthansa a run for its money on this product rollout.”

    It’s not often I defend Emirates over their advertising manipulations but to be fair, Emirates never said they will roll out the new first class to the rest of the fleet! It was always to be used to maintain the halo effect while the majority of the product is far inferior! This is an entirely different situation to Lufthansa’s utter failure to plan and deliver an updated product that will be outdated by the time the rollout is finished!

  6. Frog Guest

    I fly EU to Asia in Business class 3-4 times a year and very consistently find EK to cost significantly more than European carriers. I cant quite figure out how they can sustain such high pricing given the highly uncompetitive J seats on the 777.

    1. Tim Dunns Mom Guest

      same business model as Delta in the US. they have this halo effect of being a "premium" airline (trademark Timmy D) so it allows them to command higher fares. people see the game changer suite and it gets a lot of oohs and aaahs even though it's literally only on 9 planes as Ben said.

      just like Delta I would say the increase in price isn't really justified but hey if people are paying higher prices they are going to keep charging them.

  7. lavanderialarry Guest

    I like Emirates overall, though their cabin interiors really do need an overhaul. The overall look is dated and exceedingly tacky and unsophisticated.

  8. ken Guest

    even their new business seat doesnt excite me unless they take the ANA design, which won't happen in my opinion given it is the same product for A350-900...The question is who keeps flying EK business against QR?

    1. Daryl Stuart Guest

      Who keeps flying United Business against Air Canada business class?? Well obviously it depends what country you are going to.

      I'd you're going to Qatar you're not flying Emirates and if your going to Dubai you're NOT flying Qatar! Please try to think BEFOFE making a comment like this! WASTE of a post! This is just basic geography

    2. Morgan Diamond

      What a stupid comment. 99% of passengers who fly EK or QR are connecting so do have a choice between the two considering times and distances are pretty much the same. It just basic geography

    3. Gio Guest

      For reference I live in Dubai and I choose to fly via Doha to London even with the added stopover. Emirates business class is poor compared to Qatar from the food to the seats to the lounges to the airport experience. Very happy to add on 1h-2h to my total flight time and use the amazing Al safwa lounge too.

    4. Pudu Guest

      @Daryl Stuart Do you carry on like this in real life or save your craziness for the internet? You sound completely insane in every single post I’ve seen from you.

    5. E39 New Member

      I have been wondering about the same thing for years. Especially if you're scheduled on the 777...

      I also don't think people care whether it is DOH or DXB they pass through, flight times are similar

  9. Ray Guest

    This tells us they’re expecting further delays on the arrival of the 777X. Oh well

    1. Daryl Stuart Guest

      WRONG. The 777X is right on track in terms of schedule as per Boeing's 2015 study on 'New 777 Model Development'. People don't realize that (intelligence) or study to understand the facts (lazy).

      Google it.

    2. Andy Guest

      Are you okay? You come off as overly tense which isn't good for your heart.

    3. Bruce Member

      Are you referring to a 2015 study on the 777x? If so, what is the relevance? If the study came out 9 years ago?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Pudu Guest

@Daryl Stuart Do you carry on like this in real life or save your craziness for the internet? You sound completely insane in every single post I’ve seen from you.

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RF Diamond

Spending all this money and NOT installing the new first class product is bonkers.

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Paul Guest

Hi can you reduce the constant POP up banners, I have been reviewing this site for many years but recently this has got to an overwhelming level and detracts from your great posts.

0
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