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Emirates to add premium economy on new A380s

June 4, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Emirates, the world’s largest international airline, will introduce premium economy class on its A380s from 2020, according to its president, Tim Clark.

The debut in roughly two years’ time of Emirates premium economy could increase competitive pressure on rival airlines, Gulf News speculated when reporting the new development.

Clark made the announcement in a company podcast on the airline’s website.

“We will be installing premium economy into those and it will be an Emirates premium economy, so it will be special,” he said.

Premium economy will make an appearance on the Airbus A380s that Emirates ordered this year. The first six of those will be delivered in 2020. Emirates, which bought 20 A380s in January, says it will also utilise its options to buy another 16 of the giant planes.

The airline has mulled adding premium economy since at least 2016. The news that it will go ahead with the new seating class coincided with its announcement confirming that the first scheduled commercial Airbus A380 service to Hamburg will begin 30 October 2018, with Emirates flying daily to the German city.

Airlines that already offer premium economy include Qantas, All Nippon Airways and British Airways.

Most premium economy seating offers a pitch of 37 or 38 inches (38 inches being 96.5cm), which is about six inches (15.2cm) more than the economy-class average.

Taiwan’s EVA Air is said to have been first to introduce premium economy, in the form of its Evergreen Class, in 1991. United Airlines plans to launch premium economy early next year, under the name Premium Plus.

In terms of space, premium economy has been compared to the standard economy class of 40 years or more ago. United Airlines’ economy class seat pitch was 36 inches in the 1970s, not that different to the pitch of most airlines’ premium economy today. Airlines have tightened up on personal space, though passengers are much larger these days, on average.

Obviously, passengers didn’t get bells and whistles like power sockets and a vast choice of in-flight entertainment back in the 1970s. They didn’t get Wi-Fi either – it hadn’t been invented and personal computers were undreamed of, though the decade saw the arrival of the pocket calculator.

Written by Peter Needham

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