Emirates announces retrofits on an additional 71 A380/777 aircraft, taking up retrofit project to 191 aircraft

Emirates announced its retrofit project in 2021, which would allow the backbone of its fleet, the A380 and the 777 aircraft to be refreshed as well as the Premium Economy cabin added for the next innings in the life of these aircraft.

I had the opportunity to visit the A380 hangar of Emirates Engineering on the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow 2023, and I was fascinated with the scale of the refurbishment that Emirates was undergoing.

an airplane in a factory

Project Phoenix is the internal codename for the Emirates Cabin Refresh programme, where Emirates will refurbish the interiors, apart from adding the Premium Economy Cabin.  Emirates runs the entire project in-house. The project was launched in November 2022 and is intended to be completed by May 2025, for 67 A380s and 53 Boeing 777 aircraft. When I visited in November 2023, Emirates had refurbished 16 A380s. Now, 22 A380 aircraft are done. The Boeing 777 were supposed to go into retrofit from July 2024 onwards.

Each Boeing 777 aircraft will take approximately two weeks to refurbish before entering service. Plans include the refurbishment of the First-Class cabin, all new Business Class seats making a debut on the aircraft in an updated 1-2-1 seating configuration, in addition to 24 of the latest Premium Economy seats, giving customers more premium options to choose from.

Along with the addition of the Premium Economy cabin, the Emirates Boeing 777 will be configured with 332 seats in four classes, featuring eight First Class suites, 40 Business Class seats, and 260 Economy Class seats. To make room for the new Premium Economy cabin, 50 Economy seats will be removed.

Emirates to retrofit more aircraft

Emirates has today unveiled that it will be completely refurbishing another 43 A380s and 28 Boeing 777 aircraft, expanding its retrofit programme to 191 aircraft.

Refurbishment work for the Emirates fleet is completely being managed and executed in-house at the airline’s Engineering Centre, with over 250 project personnel currently working round the clock, supported by 31 major partners and suppliers who have set up workshops both in the facility and offsite to deliver the refreshed cabins.

Once the last aircraft rolls out of the retrofit programme and the project is fully complete, the airline will have installed 8,104 next-generation Premium Economy seats, 1,894 refreshed First Class suites, 11,182 upgraded Business Class seats and 21,814 Economy Class seats.

On the expansion of the retrofit programme, Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said,

We’re topping up our multi-billion dollar investment in the retrofit programme to introduce cutting-edge cabin products on more of our A380s and Boeing 777s, demonstrating a clear commitment to elevating the customer experience with a best-in-class suite of products across every cabin. The addition of more aircraft  fitted with our newest generation seats, updated cabin finishings and a contemporary colour palette also marks a significant step in ensuring more customers can consistently experience our premium products across both aircraft types.

Emirates currently operates its refurbished A380 aircraft fitted with Premium Economy to New York JFK, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, London Heathrow, Sydney, Auckland, Christchurch, Melbourne, Singapore, Mumbai, Bangalore, Sao Paulo and Dubai. The airline will be boosting services with the new cabin to Osaka in early June.

The airline will be serving 42 cities with Premium Economy by February 2025 with the A350 entering its fleet in September of this year, in addition to the newly refurbished Boeing 777s also slated to begin serving more cities with the highly sought after cabin later this summer.

Along with the plans for the entry into service of the Airbus A350, these are some of the bigger announcements coming from Emirates at the Arabian Travel Market tradeshow currently being held in Dubai.


Emirates Airline will expand its A380/B777 aircraft refresh programme from the currently planned 120 aircraft to a total of 191 aircraft now. The refresh includes the installation of a new Premium Economy cabin, the transition from 2-4-2 Business Class to 1-2-1 configuration on the 777s.

What do you think of Emirates retrofitting its Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 aircraft?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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