Emirates to launch new luxury first class A380 suites next year

By David Flynn, May 13 2016
Emirates to launch new luxury first class A380 suites next year

Emirates plans to begin flying its all-new first class suites by the end of 2017, with both the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER in line for the luxe cribs.

The airline has been beavering away on its next-gen suite design for three years, with the final concept due to be signed off by December.

"I hope we will be looking at the final product towards the end of this year and go into production for October of next year" revealed Emirates CEO Tim Clark during a press conference following the release of the airline's 2015/16 financial results.

Clark has previously described the suite as being even more private than the current closed-door cabin, saying "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."

Although previously expected to be launched this year, Clark was adamant that the project was on schedule.

"There’s no delay," he said. "It’s an extremely complex project that we have designed ourselves in-house with a contractor and a couple of other designers, and when it comes to market it will be very interesting."

Emirates' supersuite will go head to head with Etihad's revolutionary Airbus A380 first class Apartments (below), along with a revamp of Singapore Airlines' Airbus A380 first class suites due in 2017.

Singapore Airlines plans to reduce the number of suites in the next wave of its flagship Airbus A380s, although the remaining private suites are expected to be larger.

Also read: Concept designs for new Singapore Airlines first, business class

PREVIOUS | Emirates will launch a new private bedroom first class suite on its Airbus A380s this year, with the Boeing 777 fleet to follow, with an Emirates exec revealing the design will be "more like a private railway cabin."

The luxe private suite will cater for one passenger, unlike the two passenger capacity of rival Etihad Airways' three-room The Residence on the A380 (below).

Read: Inside Etihad's new Airbus A380 first class suites

However, Emirates' VIP suite – which wouldn't come with an Etihad-style butler service – would be "more commercially viable for passengers."

It will be pitched at "almost the same pricing" as Emirates' current first suites said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates' divisional senior vice president, told reporters on the sidelines of this week's Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

A return flight between London and Abu Dhabi in Etihad's A380 The Residence costs around $45,000 and covers up to two people travelling together, with the Sydney-London fare at $86,200.

Etihad's comparable A380 first class The Apartment fares from Sydney London average around $6,000 each way.

A380 meets luxury yacht

The design of the new private cabin is based on today's Emirates first class suites, which are fitted with sliding doors, but is "more as a room concept" according to Al Mualla, “more like if you’re in a railway and have a private cabin."

Tim Clark, President and CEO of Emirates, has previously said the "our 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."

Also read: Emirates CEO expects Airbus A380neo update mid-year

Upstairs, downstairs?

Al Mualla has previously said the new private bedroom could mean a reduction in the number of economy seats – leading some pundits to suspect the VIP suite would be located at the front of the superjumbo's main deck, which is currently given over entirely to economy seats, rather than the upstairs domain of first class.

This might also make it easy for a dedicated shower suite to be installed next to the private bedroom by building it directly beneath one of the two upstairs showers allocated to first class.

Review: Emirates Airbus A380 first class 'shower spa'

Tim Clark, President and CEO of Emirates, has previously said the new product would be "all about privacy."

"That’s very much in our current First Class private suites product, and our new bedroom concept will take it 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."

London is tipped as the launch route for the supersuite, which could be fitted to current A380s and Boeing 777-300ER jets as part of an extensive overhaul program as well as appearing on the newest planes to join the Emirates fleet.

At the same time as it launches this new suite for its well-heeled high flyers, Emirates will also begin flying A380s sans first class, with a two-class configuration designed to pack more passengers onto the upper deck.

Read: Emirates confirms two-class Airbus A380, drops first class suites

Qatar promises a double-bed in business class

The Gulf colossus and Qantas partner isn't alone in plotting its response to Etihad's A380 three-room The Residence.

Qatar Airways is working on what it calls a 'business class bedroom', which the airline says will be comparable to the more expensive first class cabins of Emirates, Etihad and Singapore Airlines.

The all-new design will include "a double bed at a business class fare" Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker told Australian Business Traveller at the launch of its Airbus A350 in Doha earlier this year.

The airline's current business class seat (seen below on the A350) "by 2016 will be obsolete," Al Baker predicted.

Photo tour: Qatar Airways' new Airbus A350 business class

"We are developing a new seat to which we will have proprietary rights, and one which will be unrivalled... and when you introduce that product into the airplane there is really not need for first class."

Read: Qatar promises 'business class bedroom' for 2016

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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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 462

While great i suspect if extream care is not made regard pricing the targeted flyers will continue to use there private jets.

Get your rulers out boys!

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1242


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2199

I don't get it.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 339

Oh Watson... He is referencing a good old "male appendage" measuring contest has broken out between the three Gulf juggernauts...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2013

Total posts 25

Didn't see that one coming :P

Hopefully Emirates will ditch all the faux gold.

Yeh I have to say the faux gold cheapens the experience for me. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 412

Totally agree, its all bling. Club leather and woodgrain panels with subdued lighting ... nice.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 339

My thinking exactly!!

Emirates First and Biz class are both Arab kitsch of the worst kind... Just down right nasty I tell yah!!!

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

19 Apr 2014

Total posts 45

Emirates getting jealous. I like.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 412

it is a good thing.


23 Jan 2013

Total posts 175

It's like the rivalry between the shipping lines Cunard and White Star a century ago. It's all really quite exciting and those at the pointy end will inevitably get great products as a result. 

Got to love healthy competition! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 412

Dont tell me you were there Ben..

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 698

An A380 without First - that makes me a little sad :-(


18 Oct 2014

Total posts 1

Luxury indeed.

08 Oct 2011

Total posts 49

Great luxury but how many can afford it (apart from the super rich oil sheikhs!)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Dec 2013

Total posts 12

I would like this new rush of blood for First class to produce wider seats. It just feels like streched business at the moment.

02 Jan 2013

Total posts 142

I did a dummy booking last week SYD-LHR For Feb 2016 for The Residence on EY and only quoted $13000 return. It was classified as The Residence SuperSaver so not sure where the $43K came from. 

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2539

Broderick, at those prices I suggest you were actually looking at standard first class suites (ie The Apartments), not The Residence – we priced The Residence from September 2015 through to February 2016 at around $31k-$43k each way,  with most fares sitting at the $43k mark.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 20

Now to there 777 business class

19 Mar 2015

Total posts 9

Is the man in the top photo a midget? I love how for publicity photos of seats they always put tiny framed people to make it look huge.

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 182

Well it needs to be very good to beat Etihad's first class appartment thats is the best first class out there for me it just feels nice. They also need to ditch the faux Gold and wood effect and go for more comfortable less garish palets of colour. Mabye could they also do something to all of the busniess class it is either not fully falt or my sholders cant fit into it unless im on my side.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 339

How about Emirates doing something about those nasty "sleeperette" biz class seats on their B777, which are configured in a 2-3-2 layout first? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 412

nasty is polite re EK business seats on the 777. they are damn awful seats


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1422

Emirates has been flying 2 class A380s for some time now; so it is not something to come as you suggest.

  • Dubai to Copenhagen on EK151/152 as of December 1, 2015
  • Dubai to Bangkok on EK376/377 as of December 1, 2015
  • Dubai to London Gatwick on EK9/10 as of January 1, 2016
  • Dubai to Kuala Lumpur on EK342/343 as of January 1, 2016

04 Jan 2014

Total posts 40

Are these the a/c with J at the back of the aircraft on the top level?

On an EK 777 in J out of Brisbane next month with points. Because of points, could not get a J seat on the 380 out of Brisbane. Then a 380 to Zurich in F and back, then Dubai in the 777 in J back home. So will get to try some of the J and F seating.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1377


On the 2-class EK planes Business remains where it was, and the First class cabin is replaced by a 2x4x2 Economy Cabin at the front of the upper deck

If you are flying Y these are the choice sests

04 Jan 2014

Total posts 40

moa999, Agree, these would be good Y seats.

From my travels on the QF A380 in both J and F, having F downstairs in the front section, makes for a very quiet flight. I was amazed at the difference in the higher noise level upstairs compared with much quieter downstairs. Though, as you are way in front of the engines, I can see why.

As a 747 Y pax for many years in the 70-90's, be interesting to try a short haul flight in Y down the back of an A380 to see the difference.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1422

Y down the back of 380 is great 4 rows, one toilet to 32 pax, and six seats with massive leg room (emergency exit).

04 Jan 2014

Total posts 40

I remember travelling down the back and always found it a bit wriggly in the 747. Recall many  years ago a trip from Vancouver to London in a super stretch DC8 in the back row...sort of like a roller coaster feeling. 


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jul 2016

Total posts 57

Just completed my 4th first class flight with Emirates last night and have to say the while the 'bling' is good, the food isn't up to Qantas Business standards in either presentation or taste. However, love the Dom Perignon, general wine list, shower and privacy, just the catering is a disappointment. Can't wait to see the new suites!

04 Jan 2014

Total posts 40

A problem(yeah, I know it is a small one to have...) is the EK suites, with the doors shut, are too hot with very little ventilation, and I always leave the door partially open. So, I hope they improve this. As for the food quality, I prefer Emirates to Qantas, the Emirates Dom Perignon is just superb. I have always found Qantas to be a tad casual in First and especially in Business. 

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

22 Apr 2017

Total posts 5

I must agree about the Emirates food. It has been declining in quality over the last few years in business and first. I frequently fly first class from Melbourne to several African countries, and as much as I love the Emirates experience, this aspect is not as good as it should be. However the Dom Perignon, JW Blue Label and Hennessey Paradis are all wonderful.

And yes, the first class suites are a little hot with the door closed. Those air vents need to work better and could be positioned better too.

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