Emirates to begin multi-billion-dollar and largest-ever retrofit involving 120 aircraft

Emirates will retrofit a combined 120 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft ©AirTeamImages

Emirates, the Middle East’s largest airline, will embark on the retrofit of a combined 120 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft in November of this year as part of a multi-billion-dollar investment to help customers ‘fly better’ during the coming years.

Having carried out various carefully monitored tests, it has been shown by Emirates Engineering team that a single aircraft can be fully retrofitted in just 16 days. The target is to retrofit four aircraft each month over the next two-plus years, starting with the 67 Airbus A380s and followed by 53 Boeing 777. The retrofit will see 4,000 brand new Premium Economy seats installed, 728 First Class suites refurbished and over 5,000 Business Class seats upgraded to a new style and design when the project is complete in April 2025.

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

As part of the programme, new purpose-built workshops will be created 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 disassembled and sent to a specialist company to replace the leather, arm rests and additional materials.

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