Emirates’ President May Have Just Leaked Its Premium Economy Seat

Emirates president Tim Clark has today leaked more details of the premium economy seat, set to arrive on one of its incoming A380s later this month. The seat is confirmed to be a Recaro product, not the HAECO innovation many were hoping for.

Recaro PL3530
The seat is Recaro and is likely to be the PL3530. Photo: Recaro

Premium economy seat revealed

While Emirates has been trying to keep quiet about its new premium economy product until we can all see it in the flesh, President Tim Clark has been issuing little teasers about the seat specifications over recent months. Today, in an exclusive interview with aero.de, Clark leaked that the seat manufacturer is indeed Recaro, although he noted the seat has been heavily modified.

In the interview, he is noted by the publication to have said,

“There are eight Recaro Sleeperette seats per row, a total of 58, which we have heavily adapted.”

Details of the precise seat have not been confirmed yet, but considering the other details shared by the Emirates boss, we can certainly narrow it down. He said that the seats would have 38 inches of pitch, and would be located on the lower floor on the three-class A380s, and the upper floor on the two-class configurations. He further said,

“In many ways, the seat is similar to our business class seat. The seat back can be tilted eight inches (20 cm) back, there are extendable footrests, and overall it’s a very comfortable cradle seat.”

Vistara 787 Dreamliner
Vistara uses the Recaro PL3530 in its premium economy cabin. Photo: Vistara

Thinking about all these little details, the most likely candidate appears to be the Recaro PL3530 seat. It’s a popular model for premium economy and is already in use with Vistara for its new Dreamliner. South Korean startup Air Premia has picked this model for its premium economy product, as has China Southern for its A350.

While Clark says it will be ‘highly modified’, the extent of these modifications is yet to be revealed. The Recaro PL3530 is a decent seat, popular with many airlines. However, if this is the case, then it’s a step down from the HAECO Eclipse seat that was hoped for. HAECO had said last year that its innovative premium economy seat was being launched on a Middle East airline, and many had hoped it would be Emirates.

Recaro PL3530
There are lots of ways to personalize the Recaro PL3530. Photo: Recaro

When will we see it?

Emirates received the first of three A380s due to be delivered by the end of the year just this past weekend. A6-EVL became the 116th A380 for the airline, and has already been put into service, but it does not have the premium economy product installed. Clark said that of the forthcoming two A380s to be delivered in December, just one would feature the premium economy cabin.

Emirates A380
One of the next two A380s will have the new product onboard. Photo: Emirates

In his interview with aero.de, Clark said that the first A380 with this cabin is about to be delivered to Airbus in Hamburg. Pending final checks, it will arrive with Emirates later this month, with Clark suggesting this could happen on December 20th.

However, it might be a bit longer before we see the cabin for sale. Clark noted that the airline needs to get to a ‘critical mass’ of aircraft with the new cabin before it offers it for sale. He anticipates this happening in the middle of 2021.