At a media briefing event in Dubai earlier today, Emirates President Tim Clark said that he doubts his airline will receive its Boeing 777X order on time. As a result, there will be a delay in the launch of the carrier’s premium economy class. The new cabin will now feature first on the airline’s A380 late next year.
Tied to the 777X delivery
According to news outlet Arabian Business, Clark said,
“I doubt we will receive it by June 2020.”
Emirates’ new premium economy cabin would have been unveiled along with the Boeing 777X’s entry into service.
It was in November 2013, on the first day of the Dubai Air Show that Emirates made the announcement that it would order 150 777Xs. According to Boeing, the order broke a record for the “single largest order for a new airplane from Emirates and the single largest airplane order ever in the world”. Emirates is the launch customer for the new aircraft.
Despite reports that Emirates’ first Boeing 777X is nearing completion at Boeing’s factory in Everett, Washington, there have also been a number of unexpected issues arising in testing. Earlier this month, as ground testing was underway, a door blew off the plane under the supervision of engineers and FAA inspectors. Sources said that there was a “stunned silence” after this happened with tests subsequently suspended.
The door incident is in addition to an engine recall that was reported in August.
Premium economy on the A380
Therefore, Arabian Business reports that premium economy will now be rolled out with the Airbus A380 in December 2020. That’s more than a year away. Earlier this summer we had suspected – or hoped – that the new cabin would be available in the first quarter of 2020.
As we wrote in July, Emirates’ new premium economy seat is predicted to be the Haeco Eclipse seat. The seat will be a “short-haul business class and long-haul premium economy” product. Speculation has been rampant, but there is still no solid, official confirmation that this will be the seat.
Despite the announcement that A380s are being phased out as their leases expire, it is expected that the A380 will continue to be a part of the Emirates fleet for the foreseeable future. According to Emirates CEO Tim Clark, the aircraft will still be part of the airline’s fleet up to 2035. The A380 retirement is to be progressive, first stabilizing at about 115 aircraft, and then going down to 90-100 by the middle of the 2020s.
With so many airlines adopting the premium economy cabin approach, it would be nice to see Emirates do this earlier than December 2020. Emirates has a reputation for outshining other legacy carriers in terms of service and flight experience in comparable classes. It’s unfortunate that we’ll have to wait so long. Will you give it a try when it’s finally available?
We reached out to Emirates for a comment on this matter. However, we have not heard back from them at the time of publishing this article.