Emirates have unveiled their much anticipated Premium Economy seat, breaking away from the traditional 3-class model that has filled their 117 Airbus A380s. The new seat features alongside a host of other design changes, aesthetic and technological, that Emirates are making in the new A380 cabin.
The new Premium Economy cabin is a first for any Middle East airline, featuring 56 seats in a 2-4-2 cabin layout.
The airline received their newest A380 aircraft from Airbus’ Hamburg facility last week; their remaining order of 5 A380s will also be delivered with Premium Economy cabins, throughout 2021 and into 2022.
Emirates’ premium economy seats will also be installed on some of their Boeing 777X aircraft, which are only due to join the fleet in 2023. Emirates are also considering plans to retrofit their existing A380 fleet.
- Pitch: up to 40 inches
- Width: 19.5 inches
- Recline: 8 inches
The new seat reclines into a cradle position with “ample room to stretch out”.
Covered in cream-coloured anti-stain leather with stitching details, and a wood panel finishing similar to Business Class, each seat features 6-way adjustable headrests, calf rests and footrests.
Each seat has a 13.3” screen that is loaded with Emirates’ standardised ICE entertainment system.
Emirates’ President, Sir Tim Clark, said that his airline has opted to place more emphasis on seat functionality, with aesthetics only being one part of the design process. The Premium Economy seat features easily accessible in-seat charging points, a wide dining table and side cocktail table.
Emirates’ Premium Economy is located at the front of the main (lower) deck, with 2 lavatories solely for use by the 56 Premium Economy passengers.
Economy Class Upgrades
Emirates have stated that they will not be selling these seats (as Premium Economy) until they reach a critical mass of aircraft. So for the time being it is complimentary upgrades for Elite Skywards members and certain Economy Class passengers. (presumably higher fare)
Why Would Emirates Offer Premium Economy?
Linus Bauer from Bauer Aviation Advisory mentioned airlines operating the services have been increasingly inclined to deploy strategically configured aircraft, with greater proportions of the plane dedicated to Business and Premium Economy cabin seats.
“Extending upon this, the global aviation industry has witnessed an overall decline in yields over the past seven years, having largely been driven down by capacity growth and the development of lower fares. However, yields in the less price-sensitive classes, such as Business and Premium Economy, have been largely upheld, thereby generating another advantage for carriers having a Premium Economy Class product.
Crucially, the production and implementation cost of a Premium Economy Class seat is 1.6 times higher than that of an Economy Class seat, yet it generates 2.3 times higher revenues than its production cost; thereby ultimately leading it to achieve the highest marginal returns across all cabin classes. A well-developed premium economy product like the one recently introduced by Emirates could be seen as a potential solution to sustain higher yields during a pandemic, recessions and economic downturns in the future. By targeting price-sensitive business travellers and comfort-seeking VFR (visiting friends and relatives) and leisure travellers, the Premium Economy product has become a value-added product, an important revenue stream and a strategic mechanism to improve yields on services.
For the remainder of the A380 cabin, Emirates has made some changes, but opted not to overhaul the layout or design.
On this latest of Emirates A380’s, the airline’s 14 First Class private suites have been enhanced from the original suites; they are now slightly wider with taller doors, for more privacy and comfort.
Cabin detail and finishes have also been refreshed; these changes include new motifs and colours, for the sweeping stairs that lead from the main deck to the upper deck, to refreshed design trims and modern fittings in the Shower Spa.
Emirates have retained their popular A380 Business Class seats; which offer direct aisle access for every passenger, recline to a fully-flat position and feature a discrete mini bar among other features.
All 76 seats have been refreshed to feature champagne-coloured leather covers and wood finishing, inspired by executive jets, similar to the Business Class on Emirates’ Boeing 777 “Gamechanger” aircraft.
The same classic colour scheme has also been applied to the Onboard Lounge at the back of the upper deck, for the exclusive use of First and Business Class passengers.