August 17 2022  |  Cabin Maintenance

Emirates kicks off upgrades on two aircraft types

By Rick Lundstrom

Emirates announced today it has begun its plans to upgrade the entire interior cabins of 120 A380 and 777 aircraft.

This project, representing a multi-billion-dollar investment, officially commences in November and is managed by Emirates’ Engineering team.

The target is to completely retrofit four Emirates aircraft from start to finish every month, continuously for over two years. Once the 67 earmarked A380s are refreshed and back in service, 53 777s will undergo their facelift. This will see nearly 4,000 new Premium Economy seats installed, 728 First Class suites refurbished and more than 5,000 Business Class seats upgraded to a new style and design when the project is complete in April 2025.

In addition, carpets and stairs will be upgraded, and cabin interior panels refreshed with new tones and design motifs including the ghaf trees which are native to the UAE.

Trials began on an A380 in July, where engineers took cabins apart piece-by-piece and logged every step. From removing seats and paneling to bolts and screws, every action was tested, timed and mapped out. Potential impediments to completing the installation of Emirates’ new Premium Economy Class or the retrofit of the remaining three cabins in 16 days were flagged and documented for expert teams to review and address.

As part of the program, new purpose-built workshops will be set up at Emirates Engineering to repaint, re-trim and re-upholster Business and Economy Class seats with new covers and cushioning. First Class suites will be carefully disassembled and sent to a specialized company to replace the leather, arm rests and other materials.

From the trials, Emirates said engineers discovered several unexpected solutions for instance: that existing food catering trucks could be easily repurposed to move parts destined for refurbishment from the aircraft to the workshop for their refresh, as these vehicles had doors of the right width and offer sufficient space.

Until the retrofit program starts in earnest in November, a cross-disciplinary team has been assembled to regularly review the planning process, address any issues, and track updates on various aspects of the project such as procurement, staffing, and training.

Emirates’ new Premium Economy cabin class is currently available to Emirates passengers traveling on popular A380 routes to London, Paris and Sydney. More passengers will be able to experience the airline’s new Premium Economy cabins starting from year end, as the retrofit program picks up momentum.

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