Emirates’ New Safran Business Class Seats: What To Expect?

Emirates’ New Safran Business Class Seats: What To Expect?

11

In November 2023, Emirates Airline announced that it’s partnering with Safran on new seats for much of its fleet. For many of us, the biggest question here is what we should expect from Emirates’ new business class. We now have some more clues…

Safran supplying seats for new Emirates fleet

Emirates is continuing its long-standing partnership with Safran, and has awarded the company contracts worth over $1.2 billion for future aircraft cabin seating. Specifically, Safran will supply seats for Emirates in business class, premium economy, and economy, on newly delivered Airbus A350-900s and Boeing 777-9s, as well as for reconfigured Boeing 777-300ERs.

For context, Emirates and Safran have worked together for many years. Safran produces Emirates’ current economy and premium economy seats, as well as Emirates’ A380 business class seat. Emirates’ new first class suite, which will be installed on many future aircraft, is produced by Rockwell Collins, so that’s not part of this agreement.

Safran produces Emirates’ premium economy seat

Emirates is promising that the new seats produced in partnership with Safran will offer “a host of enhancements that set a new standard for comfort, privacy and convenience, including generous space and a bolder roster of luxurious features, stylish interior finishes and next level-technology in every cabin class.”

Here’s how Emirates President Tim Clark describes this partnership:

“Safran is a key partner for Emirates and we’re working closely to reimagine and elevate our future cabins with smart design and the latest technologies. These have been decisive factors in our selection of seat types which will be customized for Emirates. Today’s announcement is significant not only because it cements the partnership between Emirates and Safran, but also because it supports aviation manufacturing and the wider value chain in France and across Europe.”

What will Emirates’ new business class seat be?

In the coming months, Emirates will finally be introducing a new business class product:

  • Emirates will be taking delivery of its first Airbus A350-900s, which will feature all-new cabins
  • Emirates will begin reconfiguring existing Boeing 777-300ERs, which should feature similar (or the same) cabins

The most interesting recent update is that Emirates has published its A350-900 business class seat map. The planes will have 32 business class seats, in a staggered configuration.

Emirates Airbus A350-900 seat map

Between the seat map being published, and knowing that Emirates is working with Safran on the new business class, what does that tell us about which product Emirates may introduce?

Let me first acknowledge that it’s possible that Emirates is working with Safran on a fully custom product. However, I think it’s highly unlikely, given that Safran already has existing products that Emirates might like, and those can be customized to Emirates’ specifications.

We’re seeing enough production and supply chain delays with just about everything nowadays, and creating an all-new product only complicates that more. If Emirates were working on a custom product, I don’t think it would be putting A350 flights on sale yet. For example, Lufthansa’s Allegris is a custom product, and faced huge certification delays because of that.

Since this new business class product will be one that Emirates will use for years to come, I think there are a couple of possible ways we could see this play out.

One option is that Emirates simply updates its current staggered business class product that’s available on the A380s, and installs it on other aircraft. In the past, Emirates stated that this is what the plan was, though that was back when the 777X was supposed to be delivered in 2020, and not 2025 (or later). I hope that this isn’t the direction Emirates goes, but it also wouldn’t surprise me…

Could Emirates just update its existing business class seat?

The way I view it, there’s one other realistic possibility, given Emirates maintaining a staggered configuration. It seems highly likely to me that Emirates will be selecting the Safran Unity seat, which is a staggered configuration with a door. This is the seat that Qantas is installing on its upcoming A350s, and it’s also the seat Air India has selected for its future fleet.

This product checks all the boxes, matches the seat map, and should be easiest to get certified.

Safran Unity seat on Qantas

Now, in the interest of being thorough, I should mention one other possibility, though I think there’s a 0.01% chance this turns out to be the case. If Emirates really wants to “wow” passengers and maintain a staggered configuration, could Emirates install the Safran Fusio seat? All Nippon Airways has this product on select Boeing 777s, and it’s by far the world’s most spacious business class seat.

Safran Fusio seat on All Nippon Airways

Obviously I’m rooting for the Safran Fusio product here. If Emirates were to reconfigure its 777-300ERs from seven angled seats per row to the Safran Fusio product, that might just be the greatest cabin retrofit we’ve ever seen.

However, I think it’s highly unlikely the airline selects that, as the airline would be giving up too much cabin density.

Bottom line

Emirates is partnering with Safran for the business, premium economy, and economy cabins, on its newly delivered Airbus A350-900s and Boeing 777-9s, as well as for reconfiguring existing Boeing 777-300ERs.

This isn’t too surprising, given the longstanding partnership between the two companies. I think the biggest question now is which new business class seat Emirates will choose.

With the A350-900 business class seat map now published, we know that Emirates’ new business class will be in a staggered configuration. I think it’s most likely Emirates selects the Safran Unity seat, with the only other realistic alternative being a fully custom product, or an evolution of Emirates’ existing A380 business class.

We should find out these details in the very near future…

What are you expecting from Emirates’ new Safran business class seats?

Conversations (11)
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.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. didi Guest

    i have seen the new seats. the overall frame/structure bears resemblance with the current refurbished J class seats onboard A380. Just add doors, more muted color palette, bigger TV screen, and the virtual windows for the center seats (a la F class game changer).

  2. Gregsdc Member

    Ben - if they were going Fusio, don't you imagine the seat map would illustrate the rear-facing seats? The odds you provided may have in fact been a bit high...

  3. KM Guest

    I think the Fusio isn't entirely out of the question although it will likely be the Unity. Fusio cabin density isn't any worse than other staggered configs. I compared seatmaps of EY's 77Ws and they have the same number of seats by density as NH.

    Let's see what the end result is. Knowing emirates it will be a cheaper seat with added bling.

  4. Levi Diamond

    The Safran Optima (Polaris and AF's less premium/higher-density A350s and 777s) would also seem plausible from that layout (AF squeezes 2 more seats into the A359 than EK will), especially if EK is thinking about it for less premium and more frequent routes. Still a huge upgrade from 777 2-3-2 angle flat.

  5. E39 New Member

    How does Emirates get away with 7 across angled (!) business class, while Lufthansa’s 2-2-2 fully flat are so hated?

    1. JN Guest

      Probably because roughly the other half of their fleet (A380s) has 1-2-1 flat bed business class.

    2. EJ Guest

      7 across or 2-2-2 are not necessarily bad, I would argue some of the best business class seats are 7 across/2-2-2 e.g. JL KE WY

    3. Alex Guest

      The 2-2-2 product used by JL/KE/WY (and also GF) is the Apex Suite which literally couldn’t be more different from 2-2-2 on for example Lufthansa or KLM, let alone 2-3-2 on Emirates. Apex Suites are essentially a staggered 1-2-1 with direct aisle access from every seat and crazy amounts of privacy. In my opinion it’s the best business class hard product in the world, significantly superior even to Qsuites or what ANA has…so yeah definitely...

      The 2-2-2 product used by JL/KE/WY (and also GF) is the Apex Suite which literally couldn’t be more different from 2-2-2 on for example Lufthansa or KLM, let alone 2-3-2 on Emirates. Apex Suites are essentially a staggered 1-2-1 with direct aisle access from every seat and crazy amounts of privacy. In my opinion it’s the best business class hard product in the world, significantly superior even to Qsuites or what ANA has…so yeah definitely not what people usually have in mind when they talk about 2-2-2 being an inferior product!

  6. yoloswag420 Guest

    Well it'll certainly be much better than their godforsaken 2-3-2s.

    Quite frankly EK has been behind the curve with their business class compared to most airlines.

  7. anvill Guest

    Wait, Since the seat model for Emirates A380 Premium Economy is Recaro, that would mean that they would switch suppliers to Safran. So that means we will probably get a slightly different product!

  8. Mike O. Guest

    And just to add, they've also selected Thales as their IFE vendor along with their 777Xs with 4K QLED (not OLED) screens.

    https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/worldwide/aerospace/press_release/thales-selected-emirates-777x-aircraft

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.

Gregsdc Member

Ben - if they were going Fusio, don't you imagine the seat map would illustrate the rear-facing seats? The odds you provided may have in fact been a bit high...

1
E39 New Member

How does Emirates get away with 7 across angled (!) business class, while Lufthansa’s 2-2-2 fully flat are so hated?

1
didi Guest

i have seen the new seats. the overall frame/structure bears resemblance with the current refurbished J class seats onboard A380. Just add doors, more muted color palette, bigger TV screen, and the virtual windows for the center seats (a la F class game changer).

0
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
5,163,247 Miles Traveled

32,614,600 Words Written

35,045 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT