Emirates Multibillion-Dollar Fleet Retrofit Project Starts with A380
Airlines Industry Passenger Experience

Emirates Multibillion-Dollar Fleet Retrofit Project Starts with A380

DALLAS – Starting with one of its Airbus A380 aircraft (A6-EVM), Emirates Airlines (EK) has begun work on its multibillion-dollar cabin upgrade program. The ambitious two-year program will see 120 aircraft get interior retrofits and the installation of EK’s Premium Economy Seats.

The work will see all business- and first-class seats removed for refurbishing. EK will outsource first-class repairs. However, business-class seats will be reupholstered and painted in-house at specialty workshops built for the project.

Side panels of the interiors will be laminated with EK’s latest color tones, and engineers will replace all carpets and flooring throughout the aircraft cabins. To make room for the 56 Premium Economy class seats, EK will remove 88 Economy seats at the front of the main deck.

All parts of the aircraft interior will be upgraded. Photo: Emirates.

Months of Planning


EK will do most of the work at its Engineering Centre in Dubai. The airline has hired 190 additional staff for the project and teamed up with 62 key partners and suppliers. After months of careful planning, project engineers have requested 2,200 part numbers, and the procurement team has issued 12,600 purchase orders for the initial phase of the program

As the project goes into full swing, engineers will work simultaneously on two aircraft meaning that every eight days, the airline will take one airframe out of service. The rollout for each aircraft should occur 16 days later. Emirates expects all 67 A380s to be refurbished and back in service by May 2024.

EK announced the major retrofit program at the Dubai Airshow in 2021. Photo: Emirates.

The Best Experience in the Sky


As the world’s largest operator of the A380, EK announced the retrofit program to ensure customers continue to have the best experience in the sky. The Airline claims that customer response to its Premium Economy product has been overwhelmingly positive, demonstrating travelers’ willingness to trade up for a luxury experience.

The airline has announced plans to introduce Premium Economy service on its routes to New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Melbourne (MEL), Auckland (AKL), and Singapore (SIN) by the end of March 2023.


Featured Image: Emirates Airbus A380 (A6-EEX). Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

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Ian is a freelance writer with formal training in technical communications and a special interest in aviation and the airline industry. He has more than 30 years of experience with Air Canada and has covered global aviation since 2007. Base in Richmond, Canada.

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