UAE airline Emirates has expanded its aircraft retrofit programme, adding another 71 planes to the plans, on top of the 120 already undergoing a full refurbishment. 

The Dubai-based airline will refurbish another 43 A380s and 28 777s as part of its multi-billion dollar investment into its fleet, which will include the addition of a new class of seat, Premium Economy, to the planes. 

Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airlines, said: “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.” 

The refurbishments will continue be managed in-house by Emirates’ Engineering Centre, with full overhauls of the First-Class cabins, new Business Class seats, and the addition of Premium Economy seats, with Economy seats taken out to make space for the new class. 

First announced in 2022, the project has so far only completed work on A380 aircraft, with 22 of the planes having undergone refurbishments and now being used on services to the US, Asia-Pacific, and London. 

Overall, the retrofit programme will see the installation of 8,104 Premium Economy seats, 32,996 upgraded Business and Economy seats, and 1,894 refreshed First Class suites. 

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The world’s fifth biggest airline’s increased investment into improving passenger experience is announced shortly after Clark apologised to customers for the company’s “far from perfect” response to mass cancellations and delays at Dubai Airport during a recent flooding crisis, with the company president saying the wait times experienced by customers were “unacceptable”.