Emirates will add premium economy seats to its new Airbus A380 fleet from 2020, airline CEO Tim Clark has confirmed.
Update: Emirates CEO Tim Clark has revealed the first premium economy details to AusBT, with what he described as ‘sleeperette’ seats with an exclusive-to-Emirates design and 38-40 inch pitch to be fitted fleet-wide across all Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s – read our article here.
Speaking on one of Emirates' own inflight podcast programs, Clark says the new seat would make its debut on 20 new Airbus A380s due for delivery from 2020.
"We have already spec’d out the airplanes; we know exactly what we’re going to do, [and] where we’re going to place these seats, which zones (destinations) and how we’re designing the product,” Clark revealed, after describing the seat as something "special".
“The airplanes that we ordered, the latest A380s - the first six of which come in 2020 – we will be installing premium economy in those, and it will be an Emirates premium economy, so it will be special.”
"We’ve just got to make absolutely sure that the maths stack up," he added, with the total premium economy package from seats to service being carefully positioned between business class and economy.
Emirates will be the first of the 'Gulf trio' to embrace premium economy, and its move – if successful – could push Etihad and Qatar to reconsider premium economy for their own long-range flights.
The airline has most recently been busy upgrading its first class and business class offerings, unveiling new suites for the Boeing 777-3000ER ahead of their transition to the same new Airbus A380s as will see premium economy, although the superjumbo suites won't arrive until 2021.
The suites – which will be reduced in number from the current count of 14 suites to just 11 luxe cribs in a 1-1-1 footprint –will be accompanied by new bathrooms and shower spa suites, in what Clark had described as a "transformation of the cabin."
Less is known about Emirates' plans for its next-generation business class, which has been flagged for its new Boeing 777X jets.
Speaking to media in Dubai at the launch of the airline’s new first class suite in November 2017, Clark said the seat would “resemble what we have on the Airbus A380s upstairs," however this could see a shift to a staggered 1-2-1 layout compared to the current and far less favourable 2-3-2 business class configuration.