By Sarah Townsend
Dubai airline says it wants more two-cabin craft and new first class cabin to hit production next year
Emirates would “seriously” consider introducing a premium economy option for some of its aircraft, the airline's president said on Tuesday, as the group presses ahead with plans to unveil a new first-class cabin next year.
Premium economy is levelled at between economy class and business class and considered as a potentially lucrative product option for airlines facing tough macroeconomic conditions.
Speaking at the launch of Emirates’ 2015/16 financial results, Tim Clark said: “We’re looking at all sorts of opportunities in terms of product development but clearly there’s a business case for looking seriously at premium economy.
“That’s not to say we are definitely going to do it, but we are looking at it.”
He also said there was a strong business case to introduce more two-cabin aircraft – economy and business class – in times when consumer purchasing power is squeezed.
“We’ve been through troubling times many times in the last 30 years and we take a long-term view – three-, five-, even seven-years – about what we do with fleet planning because the capital costs are so high.
“We already have a large number of two-class craft flying…and, as the market develops – notwithstanding the flatlining of the economy at the moment – we will probably take more.”
Clark also revealed that the prototype of Emirates’ planned new luxury first class cabin would be delivered by the end of the year, and it would go into production by October 2017.
He said: “We’re still going at pace. Three years we’ve been working on it and I hope we will be looking at the final product towards the end of this year and go into production for October of next year.”
The group plans to introduce the new first-class cabin on its Airbus superjumbos and Boeing 777 aircraft – the pricing will be similar to regular first class, it has said. It was originally touted for launch in 2016, but Clark insisted there had been no setbacks.
“There’s no delay,” he said. “It’s an extremely complex project that we have designed ourselves in-house with a contractor and a couple of other designers, and when it comes to market it will be very interesting.”For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.