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Emirates will standardise its new Boeing 777-9 and 777-8 fleet around a new business class seat based on that of its flagship Airbus A380s, with the cabin flanked by fully-enclosed first class suites and the airline's all-new premium economy seat.
However, travellers shouldn't expect even a cut-down version of Emirates' iconic Airbus A380 cocktail bar.
"There will be a new business class seat, which is basically the same as we have on the A380," Emirates CEO Sir Tim Clark confirms in an interview on the airline's own ICE entertainment system this month.
That seat adopts a now-standard 1-2-1 layout to ensure that every passenger has direct access to the aisle, compared to the 2-2-2 and often 2-3-2 configuration in Emirates' current Boeing 777 business class fleet.
The well-appointed business class seat also incorporates its own personal mini-bar and will boast what Clark describes as a "spectacular" inflight entertainment system.
Clark adds that while the Emirates' Boeing 777X jets won't have a bar, "there will be a small comfort area in the middle of the business class cabin" – potentially along the same lines as the stand-up space of the airlines' revamped Boeing 777-200ERs, which includes a small self-service nook for snacks and drinks.
As expected, the pointy end of Emirates' Boeing 777-9s will have six "fully-enclosed" first class suites, using the same design as on the latest Boeing 777-300ERs – including two suites in the middle of the floor boasting 'virtual windows' with signals fed by video cameras showing an external view from the aircraft.
"They've proved to be hugely popular and successful," Clark says of the new first class suites.
ET photo tour: Up close with Emirates' all-new luxury first class suite
Emirates' Boeing 777-9s will also mark the debut of an all-new premium economy seat, which will be located in its own "exclusive cabin", Clark says, along with an upgraded food and drink menu.
Clark has previously told Executive Traveller that the seat chosen by the airline will fully cradle the legs and feet, coupled with a 10 inch recline to become a railway-style ‘sleeperette’, with around 38 inches of pitch (up to 6 inches more than economy) and a seat count "more likely around the high 20s, 26-28 seats."
"We have already spec’d out premium economy in terms of the seat and product," Clark says.
There has been speculation that the seat will be the new Eclipse design (shown above) from seatmaker HAECO, given that the company has said the Eclipse will launch will see "an as yet unnamed Middle East-based airline... begin flying with the seats in 2020."
Eclipse is aimed at the premium economy or short-rage business class market, and adopts a unique staggered layout to make it easier for passengers in window or middle seats to step past their neighbours.
As to when Clark will pick up the keys to the airline's first Boeing 777-9, that remains in flux.
"It is contracted to come to us in mid-2020", Clark qualifies, although Boeing's own delays in launching the next-generation jetliner seem likely to push that back to the later half of 2020.
Asked at a media briefing in Dubai last week about the planes being delivered on time in June 2020, Clark replied “I would strongly suggest that it won’t."