Emirates to fly high with new first class, business class

By David Flynn, January 14 2016
Emirates to fly high with new first class, business class

Bolstered by its Qantas partnership and an ever-expanding international network, Emirates expects to see more sunny skies in 2016 – along with the launch of new A380 first class suites and Boeing 777 business class seats.

“We’ve been in Australia since 1996 and gone from 3-4 flights a week to 77 flights per week, so every year has been a bumper year,” says Barry Brown, Emirates’ Divisional Vice President Australasia.

The Gulf powerhouse ranks as Australia’s strongest international airline, carrying 9.7% of overseas travellers ahead of 8.7% on Singapore Airlines – with that margin increasing over the past two years.

(Qantas, which is now past the mid-point in its five-year alliance with Emirates, remains in the lead with a 15.4% share of international traffic.)

Headroom for growth

“2015 was extremely good for us, with new aircraft and new routes” Brown says, although there are no plans to boost flights into Australia for the coming year.

“We have additional rights in our back pocket so we will add capacity when the time is right, but there’s nothing on the drawing board.”

March will see Emirates launch its sixth Airbus A380 service to Australia, upgrading the daily Melbourne-Singapore-Dubai flight from a Boeing 777-300ER to a superjumbo.

This follows the A380’s debut in Perth, although Emirates later cut one of the two non-A380 flights to balance capacity.

The Airbus A380 remains the superstar of Emirates' fleet
The Airbus A380 remains the superstar of Emirates' fleet

The superjumbo will also appear on Emirates’ routes to Birmingham in March and Prague in May, with a second superjumbo to Barcelona as of June.

“Barcelona was an instant success when we added that to our network,” Brown relates.

“People can visit the southern areas of Europe which haven’t been that accessible unless the past without flying back from a traditional gateway like London.”

Also very popular with Australian travellers is Dublin, which Brown laughingly describes as “our Ned Kelly route,” while Stockholm and Amsterdam are other surprisingly strong drawcard among Emirates’ 38 European destinations.

Brown expects that the expanding network will continue to drive that growth, with 16 Boeing 777s and 20 A380s being delivered across the UAE financial year of April 2016-March 2017.

“We are retiring 26 of the older aircraft, so the net result is 11 new aircraft coming into the fleet.”

New A380 first class, Boeing 777 business class 

In the next few months Emirates is expected to reveal a new first class “private bedroom” for the Airbus A380 to compete against the impressive Apartment suites and Residence VIP ‘penthouse’ of Etihad Airways.

Emirates A380 suites are set for a luxe make-over
Emirates A380 suites are set for a luxe make-over

Tim Clark, President and CEO of Emirates, has said the “new bedroom concept will take [privacy] to the next level.” 

"We’re talking fully enclosed rooms, with all the touches and amenities that you’d expect in hotel or a private bedroom on a luxury yacht, room service and so on.”

Read: Emirates plans first class private bedroom for Airbus A380

2016 could also see the launch of new Boeing 777 business class seats, replacing Emirates' current angled beds and their 2-3-2 layout with a fully-flat design offering direct aisle access to every passenger.

Read: New Emirates business class for Boeing 777-300ERs?

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 442

The update to their 777 J seat is very long overdue. Most people fail to realise EK operate a very outdated, uncompeditive product on the majority of their fleet with is not fully flat, does not have direct aisle access and it not remotely private or spacious, I'm surprised they have managed to sell this product for such a long time.


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 733

Couldn't agree more. The first bit of turbulence and you start to slide outa those 777 J seats. Not worth the money, zero privacy.


03 May 2012

Total posts 114

I will never understand why they massively sacrifice seat width in J in order to put in a "fridge" with a couple of warm drinks. The A380 is not as bad as the 777 because it is flat, but it is still narrow. 

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 272

I agree, very narrow even on A380


19 Sep 2013

Total posts 198

Surprised to see that QF has 15.4% of int traffic. Is this figure for its own metal or includes EK codeshares?


10 Sep 2014

Total posts 25

I think its on the money - esp when you consider NZ, Asia, JNB, SCL.. Lots of daily flights

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1192

QF still has a significant  presence but this is most likely seen in SYD and to a lesser degree MEL  Its percentage in other Australian cities is much less  

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 192

Just came back from a Venice-DXB-ADL trip Venice-Dubai business in the 2-3-2 layout and no first class but was lucky enough to be upgraded to first class on the Dubai Adelaide leg-gee what a difference-emirates first class is really in the competition with other top airlines but the business class is a disgrace-same price or more than Qatar or Etihad yet the horrible 2-3-2 layout and the angle "bed" no competition whatsoever-if they want to be in the lead it"s long overdue to refurbish their entire range of 777

About time EK updated the B 777 my wife and I almost fell into the trap of travelling business class from ML to Dubai on 777 until I had a really close look at the product offered and it was NOWHERE near as good as Etihad, so I cancelled and transfered to Etihad. EK offered 2 nights for free in Dubai which was nice but no thanks.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2013

Total posts 134

2 of my flights on 1 trip this year have been upgraded from 777 to A380! Seemingly a nice twist from Emirates, 'if it's Boeing, it's going'... 

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