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Emirates Embraces Premium Economy With Plans to Aggressively Install Seat Across Fleet

Emirates Embraces Premium Economy With Plans to Aggressively Install Seat Across Fleet

Emirates Airline has announced plans to install its new Premium Economy seat across a further 105 aircraft after President Sir Tim Clark admitted earlier this year that the airline had made a mistake by not embracing a product that has proved incredibly popular with travellers on other airlines for years.

The upgrade programme won’t, however, get started until the end of 2022 and isn’t planned to be completed until mid-2024 at the earliest. Even by that point, less than half of Emirates’ aircraft fleet will feature the ‘classy’ Premium Economy seat.

Each seat is 19.5 inches wide, with a recline of 8 inches and a pitch of up to 40 inches.

Emirates took delivery of its first Airbus A380 featuring a Premium Economy cabin at the end of last year but the Dubai-based airline initially only had plans to roll out the seats on a select few superjumbos which were still to be delivered.

Located at the front of the A380’s main deck, the 56-seat Premium Economy cabin is laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration with two dedicated lavatories at the front of the cabin. The Recaro manufactured seats have been customised with cream-coloured anti-stain leather upholstery and wood panel touches similar to Emirates’ existing Business Class seats.

The seats measure 19.5 inches wide, and come with a 13.3-inch seatback screen, up to 40 inches of pitch, and a six-way adjustable headrest.

Along with being installed on Emirates’ six brand new A380’s, the airline will also retrofit 52 more superjumbos and 53 Boeing 777 aircraft with the Premium Economy cabin.

Until now, Emirates has actually been limited in selling tickets for the seats because the cabin is available on so few aircraft. Instead, the airline has been forced to gift the seats as complimentary upgrades for passengers who booked Economy Class seats.

The upgrade programme will, however, allow Emirates’ Premium Economy to finally start paying its own way.

For years, Sir Tim dismissed Premium Economy fearing the seats would cannibalise demand for Business Class. Data from multiple other airlines show that the vast majority of Premium Economy flyers are leisure travellers looking to upgrade their Economy experience rather than business travellers hoping to save costs.

Nonetheless, Emirates will need to keep its Business Class seat competitive and on Tuesday, Sir Tim confirmed that Emirates was now looking to update its dated 2-3-2 Business Class configuration on its Boeing 777 fleet.

Getting rid of the dreaded middle seat with a 1-2-1 all direct aisle access seat would considerably improve Emirates 777 Business Class seats.

“Since we introduced our Premium Economy seats a year back, we’ve received a hugely positive response. Customers have been amazed by the quality and comfort,” Sir Tim commented.

“As Emirates has done with our signature First, Business and full-service Economy travel experiences, we intend to further develop our Premium Economy into a distinctive Emirates experience that is unmatched in the industry.”

The Premium Economy cabin on Boeing 777 aircraft will feature just 24 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration and will sit just behind the Business Class cabin.

By the end of the year, the Premium Economy seat will be available on select Emirates flights from Dubai to London Heathrow, Frankfurt, New York JFK and Paris.

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