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Inside Look At Current And Future Emirates Airbus A380-800 Configurations

Emirates Airbus A380-800

Emirates (EK) is the biggest Airbus A380-800 operator with 95 aircrafts in service and another 12 on order. While there are three published configurations, the airline actually have six different versions in operation today. We take an inside look at all the different versions available for travellers today and what the future will entail.

 

Emirates Airbus A380-800 Story

The story began with Emirates placing an order of five passenger and two freighter versions of the doubledecker aircraft dubbed A3XX back in April 2000. By the time the Dubai based airline received its first aircraft on July 28, 2008 (Registration: A6-EDA), Airbus had a firm order of 58 passenger version of A380s (the freighter order was converted into passenger back in by April 2006) to deliver.  While it was the second operator behind Singapore Airlines (SQ) to deploy this aircraft, it was the first fly between Dubai International Airport (DXB) to New York’s JFK International Airport (JFK) on August 1, 2008.

At the time, the aircraft was configured with three classes of service (first, business and economy) with 489 total seats. This was 18 more than offered than Singapore Airlines at launch with all the additional seats dedicated to premium class. In an airline industry first, Emirates equipped two shower suites for first class passengers.

 

Comparison of Airbus A380-800 Configuration between Singapore Airlines and Emirates

Airline Name First Class Business Class Economy Class Total
Singapore Airlines 12 60 399 471
Emirates 14 (+2) 76 (+16) 399 (no difference) 489 (+18)

 

Current Configurations

Emirates currently has three published versions of the A380-800:

 

All Published Emirates Airbus A380-800 Configurations 

Configuration First Class Business Class Economy Class Total Notes
1 14 76 399 489 21 aircrafts, last delivered March 2014 (A6-EET)
2 14 76 427 517 25 aircrafts, last delivered December 2013 (A6-EES)
3 0 58 557 615 10 aircrafts, last delivered May 2017 (A6-EUQ)

 

These configurations comprise of 56 of the 95 aircraft fleet (~59%). The second configuration was introduced on its sixth delivery in December 2009 with the goal to improve yields further and to operate on routes with capacity constraints such as London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR). The third configuration was put into service from Dubai (DXB) to Copenhagen Airport (CPH) on December 1, 2015 (Related News – Emirates Brings High Capacity Airbus A380 To Copenhagen). The objective is to use this high density A380 to improve capacity for destinations that do not have a high premium (first and business) passenger demand or have more than one A380 frequency (Related News – Ten Markets Ripped For Emirates High Capacity A380 Service).  This configuration also wins the award for the most seats on one aircraft operated by a commercial airline.

At its introduction, Emirates mentioned that it will build more copies of the third configuration. In the past twelve months 4 out of 14 A380-800s delivered were in this high density configuration.  Besides Copenhagen, the airline has been using the 615 seaters for flights to many destinations from Dubai (DXB):

 

Asia

  • Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport – TPE
  • Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International – BKK
  • Hong Kong International Airport – HKG
  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport – KUL
  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport – PVG

 

Europe

  • London Gatwick Airport – LGW
  • Amsterdam Airport Schiphol – AMS
  • Manchester Airport – MAN
  • Birmingham International Airport – BHX
  • Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport – CDG
  • Zurich Airport – ZRH
  • Dusseldorf International Airport – DUS
  • Barcelona International Airport – BCN

 

Africa

  • Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport – MRU

 

Other Configurations In Service

All Unpublished Emirates Airbus A380-800 Configurations 

Configuration First Class Business Class Economy Class Total Notes
4 14 76 401 491 11 aircrafts, last delivered September 2015 (A6-EON)
5 14 76 426 516 8 aircrafts, last delivered February 2017 (A6-EUI)
6 14 76 429 519 20 aircrafts, last delivered December 2016 (A6-EUM)

 
The other configurations all featured the same first and business seat capacity but different economy class seats.  The difference are all in the lower level placement and does not significant impact passenger comfort.

 

Future Development

With its rival Qatar Airways (QR) introducing a new first/business class hybrid product named Qsuite (Related News – Qatar Airways Debuts New Qsuite Business Class on June 24), Emirates is pressed to innovate the now almost 9 years old premium seats on board its Airbus A380-800s. There is report stating that a new first class product will be introduced at year’s end. It would not be a big surprise if a new business class product will also be showcased in tandem so that the cabins can be retrofitted at the same time. The new designs may require additional spacing which could reduce overall capacity closer to another rival, Etihad Airways (EY).

 

Middle East Airlines Airbus A380-800 Comparisons

Airline Names Residence First Class Business Class Economy Class Total Total In Service Total Yet To Be Delivered
Emirates* 0 14 76 427 517 95 47
Etihad Airways 1 9 70 415 495 10 10
Qatar Airways 0 8 48 461 517 8 2

*- Using the most common version with 427 seats
 

Emirates and Qatar Airways have the same number of total seats in their A380-800s with the former holding the edge in count in the premium cabins. Etihad Airways has the least amount of seats overall and is the only one with a three-room Residence seat with its own washroom and bedroom. It introduced the Airbus A380-800 service back in 2014 and will likely not have a design update announced anytime soon. While Qatar Airways showcased the innovative Qsuite for its Airbus A350-900 fleet (which does not have a first class cabin), the airline mentioned its 10 A380-800s (2 left to be delivered) will feature a different design due to wider fuselage dimensions. Look for this news sometime in 2018.

 

 

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