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Emirates Expands Aircraft Retrofit Program

The carrier is planning to refurbish more aircraft than initially expected.

An Emirates Airbus A380 (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Emirates announced an expansion of its already massive effort to refurbish existing aircraft. In 2022, the airline announced a $2 billion aircraft retrofit program that was aimed at refreshing interiors of 67 Airbus A380 and 53 Boeing 777 aircraft. This has now expanded to another 43 A3380 and 28 Boeing 777 aircraft.

This brings the total number of aircraft being refurbished under this program to 191. The goal of the expansion is to ensure more aircraft have the newer interiors that currently reflect Emirates’ new color scheme and branding while also installing premium economy on aircraft.

22 A380s have been retrofitted so far and starting this July, the first Boeing 777 will start refurbishment. It will take approximately two weeks to complete and other Boeing 777 aircraft are expected to be refurbished at a similar pace.

First class will now have a revised color scheme with changes to panels and upholstery. A brand new 1-2-1 configuration business class cabin will be added to the aircraft along with 24 premium economy seats. Details of the new business class cabin have yet to be revealed.

The addition of premium economy will impact the overall seat count on the aircraft. Refurbished Boeing 777 aircraft will have eight first class seats, 40 business class seats, 24 premium economy seats, and 260 economy seats. This marks a reduction of 50 economy seats which are being removed to make space for the premium economy cabin.

These new seats will all feature updated cabin designs that will be similar to what is found on the refurbished A380s already in service.

Emirates A380 first class seat (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

All of this work is being done by the Emirates Engineering Centre right in Dubai. At the end of the refurbishment project, the airline will have installed 8,104 premium economy seats, 1,894 refreshed first class suites, 11,182 upgraded business class seats, and 21,814 economy seats.

These new interiors reflect the next generation of Emirates a more mature brand. The airline is dropping much of the dark wood paneling and gold finishes to a lighter and brighter color scheme. Emirates is going for subtle elegance across the fleet.

No renderings of the Boeing 777 interiors have been released yet but hopefully the airline will continue to highlight the ghaf tree, the national tree of the United Arab Emirates, across the fleet. The refurbished A380 aircraft in the fleet all have hand-painted ghaf trees across bulkheads and various other parts of the cabin adding a cultural touch to the airline.

Staircase to lower deck
(Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

Hemal Gosai


  • Hemal Gosai

    Hemal took his first flight at four years old and has been an avgeek since then. When he isn't working as an analyst he's frequently found outside watching planes fly overhead or flying in them. His favorite plane is the 747-8i which Lufthansa thankfully flies to EWR allowing for some great spotting. He firmly believes that the best way to fly between JFK and BOS is via DFW and is always willing to go for that extra elite qualifying mile.

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