The Emirates retrofit team stand in front of an A380.
Photo Credit: Emirates

Emirates rolls in first A380 for full cabin refit

LONDON – Following an anticipated cabin overhaul program, Emirates launched the program on November 1, and sent the first A380 to the hangar for a complete cabin retrofit. The cabin refitting program is scheduled for 120 aircraft, and is estimated to take roughly two years.

Million dollar investment


Eimrates’ ambitious cabin retrofit program comes as a result of a multi-million dollar investment to ensure that Emirates’ customers fly better in the years ahead.

Currently, the cabin refit program is set to completely refit the cabin, as well as the installation of Emirates’ new Premium Economy Class-seats.

After landing from Cairo, Emirates’ A6-EVM, a 2.9-year old Airbus A380, was towed to the hangar at Emirates’ Engineering Centre, where specialized engineers are preparing the aircraft for its makeover.

Before the official launch of the project, Emirates completed numerous in-depth test runs with an actual Airbus A380 aircraft.

With the tests completed, engineers requested 2,200 part number, in which returned Emirates with an overdrive of the procurement team and 12,600 purchase orders for the initial phase of the project.

Highly specialized team


For the project, Emirates have recruited 190 additional staff, while also being engaged with 62 other partners and suppliers, who has hundreds of more skilled hands. All of these will work on the biggest aircraft retrofit programme in modern commercial aviation.

At the Emirates Engineercing Centre, workshops have been created and stocked with the equipment and parts for the project.

Process overview


For the first A380 currently in retrofitting, the engineers and techinicians will over the next 2 weeks, strip the entire cabin of its interior, before putting it back together in a planned and tested sequence.

The retrofit will make thousands of parts removed, replaced or overhauled, with the shower Emirates has, also getting an overhaul with new colors and stencils.

The program’s pace


With the first aircraft currently undergoing retrofitting, the next aircraft in the line is going to be A6-EUW, another Airbus A380 of Emirates. The aircraft is scheduled to enter the engineering facility on 1 December.

Despit the one month between these two aircraft, the program will see engineers working on multiple aircraft simultaneously, as the project gets more air under its wings.

By following the planned pace of the programme, all A380’s Emirates have scheduled for an overhaul, will be back in service by late May of 2024, after which they will start working on their chosen 53 Boeing 777s.

With this, all 120 aircraft scheduled for a cabin refit, will be back in service by March, 2025.

The new Emirates Premium Economy


Already available on selected A380 routes, Emirates’ new Premium Economy class features luxurious seats with more legroom, as well as a service to rival the Business Class of other airlines.

The Premium Economy serviced flights are on the A380 flights to destinations like Sydney, Paris and London, and as more aircraft enter the refitting programme, more customers will be able to experience the new Premium Economy class.

Currently planned, is for Emirates to introduce Premium Economy on routes to the west and east coast of the United States, with the airports being New York JFK and San Francisco. The Premium Economy service is also planned for routes to Oceania and East-Asia, with Melbourne, SIngapore and Auckland being the selected announced routes.

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