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Emirates Set to Launch New Premium Economy Seat On At Least One Airbus A380 Before The End Of The Year

Emirates Set to Launch New Premium Economy Seat On At Least One Airbus A380 Before The End Of The Year

The Dubai-based Emirates is set to become the first airline in the Middle East to launch a Premium Economy cabin with at least one of three new Airbus A380’s due to be delivered before the end of 2020 set to feature the new seat. Emirates had been planning to launch the new cabin at some point this year but after the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the aviation industry, the launch was expected to be pushed back into 2021 at the earliest.

The news was revealed by Emirates’ president Sir Tim Clark in an upbeat interview with Bloomberg television in which Clark predicted the airline’s entire fleet of A380’s could be back in the air by early 2022.

Photo Credit: HAECO

Sir Tim, who has repeatedly said the future of the A380 rests on the success of effective vaccines against the novel Coronavirus, has been buoyed by news from three vaccine manufacturers that their jabs have efficacy rates of up to 90 per cent or more.

The airline now expects to see a “sharp recovery” in demand as various vaccines from the likes of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca are rolled out en masse next year. Sir Tim predicted a release in “pent up demand” from people who have either not been able to travel or have chosen not to because of the pandemic.

“I can see demand for travel moving at pace,” Clark told Bloomberg. “My own view, and it’s always an optimistic view, is by the end of next calendar year or the first quarter of 2022 we’ll have all our A380s flying.”

As for the new Premium Economy cabin, Clark had few details to share but did confirm that the airline would receive at least one A380 with the seats installed by the end of the year. Emirates has not confirmed when it plans to press that aircraft into service and the airline may choose to keep the plane grounded until its Premium Economy seat is rolled out on more aircraft across its fleet.

The seat itself is believed to be the HAECO Eclipse seat which comes in a staggered configuration with fixed privacy shields and a ‘Zero-G’ configuration. The seat manufacturer let slip that it had signed an agreement with a Middle East-based airline, without naming Emirates as the customer.

Emirates has declined to confirm what seat it has chosen but it is the only airline in the region planning to launch a Premium Economy seat. Clark said the airline had customised the seat with unique textures, seat covers and its trademark woodgrain effect.

The seat is also expected to be rolled out across some of Emirates’ Boeing 777 fleet, although Clark didn’t reveal a timeline for that mammoth task. As for the next-generation Boeing 777X jet, Clark said he had “no idea” when the airline would now take delivery of the much-delayed aircraft.

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