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Emirates boss says first A380 with premium economy is ready and 'waiting to go'

June 10, 2020
3 min read
Emirates boss says first A380 with premium economy is ready and 'waiting to go'
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Emirates has long tossed around the idea of a premium-economy product. It wasn't until May 2018 that the airline confirmed that it would bring premium economy to its portfolio, on new A380s beginning in 2020.

Now, the first A380 with premium economy installed is ready to enter service. But coronavirus is delaying its entry into service.

Emirates President Sir Tim Clark said during the Arabian Travel Market virtual event that the carrier's first A380 with the new mid-tier product was "sitting in Toulouse waiting to go".

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Exact details about what the premium economy product will look like for Emirates remain unclear. In the past, Clark has said that it's a railway-style "sleeperette" design.

"It's probably where business class used to be, and in some cases where first used to be in the old days, 30 years ago", Clark previously told Executive Traveller.

We do know though that there will be around 38 inches of pitch with 10 inches of recline. Clark has previously said that the premium-economy cabin will be located on the lower deck of the A380, with "probably as many as 56 seats", according to ET.

In April 2019, seat manufacturer Haeco unveiled its new premium-economy seat and revealed that the launch customer was a Middle East-based carrier, leading many to believe that it could be Emirates. It has not yet been confirmed.

However, the delivery of the first aircraft with the product inside could be delayed until 2021 or beyond — depending on when passenger demand picks up in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis.

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Airbus manufactures the superjumbo Airbus A380 from its headquarters in Toulouse. According to Flight Global, Emirates' last eight A380s that it had on order are set to be delivered over the next year or so. Then, Airbus will end production of the aircraft.

During the coronavirus crisis, Emirates, which is the world's largest A380 operator, has grounded its entire fleet of 115 A380s. However, despite not using the superjumbo through the peak of coronavirus downtime, Clark continues to see a bright future for the aircraft in Emirates' fleet as travel demand will eventually resume.

"The A380 has proven to be a hugely successful aircraft and if fuel prices were forever to stay at today’s levels, this aircraft is hugely potent", Clark said. "The thirst for travel will come back".

According to Cirium data, Emirates has a backlog of more than 200 aircraft on order, including a total of 58 A380s and A350s from Airbus.

Because of the coronavirus crisis, the A380 is facing a grim future. Emirates will resume flying it, but it has grounded its entire fleet, and other airlines around the world have done the same. For much of the crisis, the only A380s in the skies have been China Southern's. Additionally, Air France said in May it was retiring its fleet of A380s, effective immediately, and Lufthansa has grounded its A380s.

Featured image by Getty Images

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023