Details: Emirates Retrofitting Planes, Adding New Business Class

Details: Emirates Retrofitting Planes, Adding New Business Class

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Last week Emirates revealed plans to retrofit 120 aircraft with new interiors, as part of a $2 billion investment. This is primarily being done in order to install the new premium economy product on these jets, though there are changes coming to all other cabins as well. The airline has today revealed some more details about this, so let’s take a look at what we can expect.

How Emirates will retrofit 120 planes with new interiors

Between November 2022 and April 2025, Emirates plans to reconfigure 120 Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s with new interiors. Emirates’ fleet consists of just over 250 jets, so that constitutes roughly half of the Dubai-based carrier’s fleet.

When all is said and done, Emirates will have refurnished thousands of first & business class seats, and will have installed thousands of new premium 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.

Basics of Emirates’ massive cabin retrofit program

Each jet is expected to take around 16 days to be retrofitted, and Emirates plans to complete retrofits on four jets per month. In other words, around two planes will generally be worked on at a time. Let’s take a closer look at the details.

Emirates Airbus A380 retrofit plans

Emirates will start by reconfiguring 67 Airbus A380s with new interiors. Based on the timeline of four jets being reconfigured per month, you can expect that they’ll be reconfigured between November 2022 and April 2024, give or take.

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

I’d expect these Emirates A380s to feature the same cabin finishes that you’ll find on Emirates’ six newest A380s, which already feature 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’ updated A380 bar
Emirates’ updated A380 business class seat

Emirates Boeing 777 retrofit plans

Emirates plans on reconfiguring 53 Boeing 777s with new interiors, but only after the A380s are reconfigured. This means that you can expect Emirates 777s to start to be reconfigured somewhere around early 2024, and the project will take just over a year.

Emirates’ reconfigured Boeing 777s will feature 24 premium economy seats, in a 2-4-2 configuration. While the cabin will be located between business and economy, it’s not yet know if the premium economy seats will come at the expense of economy seats or business class seats. I’d guess the former, but who knows…

Emirates 777s are getting updated interiors

Emirates is upgrading its Boeing 777 business class?!

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. While Emirates isn’t revealing much just yet, it sounds like the airline plans to introduce a new Boeing 777 business class.

In the press release about the retrofit project, it’s acknowledged how first class suites will be “refurbished,” while for business class seats it’s stated that they’ll be “upgraded to a new style and design.” It sure sounds to me like we should expect a new Boeing 777 business class product, which might also explain why Emirates is first retrofitting A380s first, and then 777s.

At a minimum, I expect we’ll see Emirates install its A380 business class on 777s, consisting of staggered seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. At least those seats are fully flat and have direct aisle access. But who knows, maybe we’ll see the airline introduce something even better. After all, Emirates’ A380 business class isn’t exactly cutting edge in 2022 (let alone 2024 and beyond).

Emirates’ A380 business class

Sadly it sounds like Emirates doesn’t have plans to install its new 777 first class on more planes, as this is currently only available on nine 777s. Maybe the airline will have a change of heart on this, as it’s still well over a year until 777 reconfigurations start.

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

Bottom line

Emirates has now outlined plans for reconfiguring its fleet. 120 jets will be reconfigured between November 2022 and April 2025, with A380s going first, followed by 777s. All cabins will be refreshed, though the most significant development will be that all these planes will get premium economy, and 777s should get a new business class.

We don’t yet have many details on Emirates’ new business class, but it’s exciting to hear that this is supposed to happen.

What do you make of Emirates’ fleet retrofit plans? Do you think Emirates will just install its A380 business class product on 777s, or…?

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  1. TheBestBlackBrent Gold

    Amazing!

    They will have outdated business class installed by 2025, that is great news.

  2. Mark Guest

    777 business class 3 in a row seating and none of them are really flat bed they are angled flat bed. Apparently emirate define a proper flat bed as Lie Flat Bed as opposed the Flat Bed which is angled. The 380 product is ok but on their 777 only routes i would rathe fly another airline

  3. Lukas Guest

    I honestly think that the real issue with EK’s B777s is that the business seats are angled and not fully flat. 2-3-2 works if you travel as a family, but the angle makes them pretty terrible.

  4. Carl Guest

    Let's hope they walk away from the tacky shiny gold interior of the 777. If the latest premium economy cabin is any indication, they might be heading in the right direction.

  5. Andy Guest

    Sometimes we got 777 plane with terrible business class 2-3-2 .. No privacy, no door, not enough space ! Ridicules for this price and 2022 year of innovation and privacy

  6. EBWaa Guest

    I wish they’d adopt the aesthetics of the refurbished A380 bars for their passenger cabins. I think the grey wood-effect laminate is far more modern and less tacky that the faux burled walnut look they seem to fond of.

  7. Jan Guest

    I’ve seen their PE and it looks super recline-y, and so far, IIRC, it’s not a whole new cabin/class, just a cash upgrade from economy. I hope it stays that way (coach food in Emirates is decent enough). Looking forward to that.
    And maybe a 1-2-1 on 777 J? It just might make that plane the more desirable one on -most- things (I think I still like the novelty of a shower though)

  8. Julia Guest

    Didn’t they already refurbish some of their 777s with a a lie flat business class seat (but still in a 2-3-2 configuration)?

  9. AnishReddi New Member

    1702/53 is 32 business class seats for their 77W, which is 10 less seats compared to every 77W right now. so either new business class with a lower density( very low seat count for a 777) or premium economy is coming out of business class.
    728/67 is roughly 11 so either a new first class seat, lower the amount of seats from 14 to 11, have a subfleet with less first class or they are also retrofitting the dual cabin a380s which seems the most likely.

  10. Dan Guest

    Unless their counts are wrong, I have to think they're installing the new first on the 777 and maybe even the A380. The seats per plane math doesn't work otherwise.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Dan -- Lol, that's a good point, though I think they're just bad at math, at least for the graphic. That doesn't even divide out into whole numbers, split between the fleet.

    2. Stuart Guest

      Was thinking the same. 16 F seats on the A380 adds up to a lot more than that. Unless they are not counting the newer aircraft with the Non Bling F.

    3. Dan Guest

      Non-bling comment also raises a good point. There are a sizable number of 772's without F at all!

    4. JB Guest

      @Dan - I believe they only have 10 777-200LRs, and they were retrofitted in the last few years to have an updated Business Class (in a 2-2-2 configuration).

    5. LEo Diamond

      keep in mind EK also have 380's that don't have first class

    6. JB Guest

      Emirates also has some A380's without First Class, which they will likely be retrofitting as well which is likely why the math doesn't work out.

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JB Guest

Emirates also has some A380's without First Class, which they will likely be retrofitting as well which is likely why the math doesn't work out.

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Dan Guest

Non-bling comment also raises a good point. There are a sizable number of 772's without F at all!

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TheBestBlackBrent Gold

Amazing! They will have outdated business class installed by 2025, that is great news.

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