Emirates’ First Retrofitted A380 Returns to the Skies

Expect more premium economy seats on board, new leather upholstery, and lighter color palettes throughout.

The new first-class Suites aboard a refurbished Emirates A380. (All photos courtesy of Emirates)

The first of Emirates’ 120 aircraft to be completely refurbished under a US$2 billion retrofit program, an Airbus A380, has gone into service on the Dubai–London Heathrow route. Ahead of its deployment, teams of engineers and technicians worked around the clock to dismantle the entire interior of the double-decker superjumbo and reassemble the parts again in a carefully planned and tested sequence.

Sir Tim Clark, Emirates’ president, said in a statement, “Customers will notice the difference the moment they step onboard — the spacious A380 will look and feel even more impressive and comfortable.” The airline chief said the large-scale retrofit would allow Emirates to offer more premium economy seats to meet customer demand. “I’m particularly proud that this refurbishment work was designed, conducted and completed in-house at our facilities in Dubai, to the highest standards of quality and safety. It reflects the world-class aviation capabilities and infrastructure that exists within Emirates, and here in the UAE,” he added.

The fully refreshed A380 features Emirates’ latest products and interiors across all cabins, including 56 premium economy class seats on the main deck, and new color palettes in the carpeting and wall panels. On the upper deck, first- and business-class seats sport the airline’s latest cream-colored leather upholstery and lighter-toned wood finishing. Emirates’ signature ghaf tree motif also features prominently throughout the interiors, including hand-stenciled panels in the first class Shower Spa.

Ongoing upgrades on the next A380 are expected to be done by the end of this month. As the program progresses, engineers will work simultaneously on two aircraft. By 2024, all 67 A380s assigned for refurbishment will have returned to service. Emirates will then begin work on its 53 Boeing 777s earmarked for this project. The airline expects to complete the program in 2025.


The first-class Shower Spa comes with new design touches like hand-stenciled ghaf tree motifs.

Premium economy seats aboard the Emirates A380.

Brand-new seats with a lighter color palette were installed in economy class.

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