Coronavirus sees Emirates delay launch of Airbus A380 Premium Economy


Emirates will postpone the launch of its all-new premium economy class due to the continued impact of COVID-19, and says it has no plans to upgrade older aircraft with the “better than economy, less than business ”.

The Gulf Colossus previously planned to roll out its custom premium economic seat – using what airline president Tim Clark has described as a rail-style sleeperette – during the second half of this year on one of the airline’s factory fresh Airbus A380 superjumbos.

An airline spokesperson confirmed Executive traveler that “this project is still on the cards, even if the launch will be delayed”.

HAECO's Eclipse has become the new premium economic seat for Emirates.HAECO’s Eclipse has become the new premium economic headquarters for Emirates.

In March, as the coronavirus continued its dramatic sweep around the world and caused the United Arab Emirates to close its borders to visitors and transit passengers, Bloomberg reported that Emirates was seeking to delay delivery of its last eight A380s .

Clark has since performed the final rites on the two-stage jet, which will end production in 2021, declaring that “the A380 is finished.”

And while Emirates kicked off this week by announcing an “annual” profit of 21% or $ 456 million, “the Covid-19 pandemic will have a huge impact on our 2020-2021 performance,” said the president of Emirates. , Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. “We anticipate that it will take at least 18 months for travel demand to return to a semblance of normalcy.”

No premium economic renovation

A long-term modernization program would also have added more savings to existing Emirates’ A380s and Boeing 777-300ERs, but this appears to be another victim of coronavirus-based species conservation.

“We currently have no plans to modernize our existing fleet in order to safeguard our liquidity, which is the highest priority at the moment,” said the spokesman for Emirates. Executive traveler.

The decision by Emirates is far from surprising. Airlines around the world are under pressure to contain costs, to carefully engage in a gradual recovery in travel demand and to properly size their fleet for a “new normal”, the form of which is far from being Claire.

Emirates has postponed delivery of its new Airbus A380s.

Emirates has postponed delivery of its new Airbus A380s.

Clark considers the coronavirus pandemic to be an industry-changing “black swan event” that, according to the International Air Transport Association, will cost airlines at least $ 490 billion this year in lost revenue.

“We just have to accept that in the next year or two, maybe a little longer, the demand for air travel will be tempered in many ways,” predicts Clark. “What emerges from this will be, in my opinion, almost 20 to 30% less than what we were experiencing before the coronavirus started. “

Emirates Premium Economy: the wait is always worth it

That said, Emirates’ entry into the premium economy space will still be welcomed by business and leisure travelers.

The seat itself is a new product developed to the specifications of the airline, said Emirates President Sir Tim Clark. Executive traveler in June 2018, after “a competition between the seat manufacturers to specify the designs we want”.

Emirates President Sir Tim Clark described the premium economy seat as a rail-style berth.

Emirates President Sir Tim Clark described the premium economy seat as a rail-style berth.

Clark says the rail-style sleeperette design will fully rock the legs and feet in a “something like lazy-Z” configuration with a 10-inch tilt, rather than becoming completely flat – a trait that will remain the exclusive domain of the company and first class.

“This is probably where business class was, and in some cases where it was before, 30 years ago,” said Clark.

Emirates premium economy passengers can also expect much more legroom, with around 38 inches tall – up to 6 inches taller than economy – while the seat itself even will be wider than its economy class counterparts and sport a larger in-flight video screen.

There was speculation that the premium economic seat of Emirates is HAECO’s new Eclipse design, since the manufacturer said that the launch of Eclipse would see “an unnamed Middle East-based airline … start to fly with the seats in 2020. ”

HAECO's Eclipse has become the new premium economic seat for Emirates.

HAECO’s Eclipse has become the new premium economic headquarters for Emirates.

On Emirates’ first class equipped Emirates Airbus A380s, Clark said the premium economy cabin would be located forward of the lower deck with “probably up to 56 seats.”

On the Emirates A380s that lack first class, the premium economy would be added on the upper deck with “the same kind of number” of seats as the three-class superjumbos.

The Emirates Boeing 777 would see a smaller cabin, “more likely around the 1920s, 26-28 seats”, behind the business class but ahead of the economy.

In addition, Clark said that Emirates’ premium economy would be separated from economy class in order to provide “a certain degree of exclusivity … and not just a curtain, it will be an appropriate cabin”, and that “most of the time (premium Economy), passengers will have access to their own toilets. “

Also read: Everything you need to know about Emirates Premium Economy


David Flynn is the editor of Executive Traveler and a bit tragic about the trip with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


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