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Emirates Rolls Out First Refurbished Airbus A380

The first of 120 aircraft to be refurbished under the carrier's $2 billion retrofitting program has been deployed on the London-Dubai service

by Fergus Cole

January 9, 2023

Photo: The newly refurbished Premium Economy onboard the Airbus A380. Courtesy of Emirates.

The first Airbus A380 to be entirely refurbished by Emirates has taken to the skies, having been deployed on the airline’s Dubai to London-Heathrow route.

The fully updated A380 is the first of 120 aircraft that the carrier is retrofitting as part of its $2 billion upgrade campaign. As a result, extensive refurbishments have been carried out on the plane, with the new design featuring a lighter color scheme in First Class and Business Class cabins and more of the popular Premium Economy seats.

All of the airline’s latest products and interiors have been implemented in all of the A380’s cabins, with new color palettes across the carpets and wall panels and cream-colored leather upholstery and light wood finishes in the First and Business Cabins. 

Photo: First Class shower room. Courtesy of Emirates.

Emirates’ ghaf tree motif is featured throughout the new cabins, including eye-catching, hand-stenciled panels in its First Class Shower Spa. The retrofitted aircraft also has more Premium Economy seats than before, with 56 now onboard.

Emirates customers can now enjoy the added comfort and luxury that the new design provides on flights EK 3 and EK 4. Both routes are operated daily, with the outbound flight – EK 3 – departing Dubai (DXB) at 2:30 PM and arriving at London Heathrow (LHR) at 6:20 PM local time. The return journey – flight EK 4 – departs Heathrow at 8:20 PM each day, landing in Dubai at 7:20 AM.

Photo: The newly refurbished Economy Class onboard the Airbus A380. Courtesy of Emirates.

“Customers will notice the difference the moment they step onboard—the spacious A380 will look and feel even more impressive and comfortable,” said Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates. “With our latest interiors and products, this newly refurbished aircraft elevates our inflight experience in all classes of travel and enables us to offer more Premium Economy seats to meet customer demand.”

Clark admits being “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.”

Photo: First Class Suite. Courtesy of Emirates.

This Airbus A380 is only the first of 120 planes in the Dubai-based airline’s fleet that is set to be refurbished as part of its retrofitting program. The list of planes expected to be refurbished includes 67 A380 by 2024 and 53 Boeing 777 by 2025.

Now that the first A380 has been put into service, the following aircraft to be refurbished is A6-EUW, which will be completed by the end of January. This aircraft is only six years old, delivered to the airline in May 2017.

Photo: Courtesy of Emirates.

To complete the massive refurbishment project, Emirates has employed 190 new personnel and is working with at least 48 other partners who have hired hundreds of skilled workers between them. Engineers are set to refurbish two aircraft at a time as the project progresses, withdrawing at least one aircraft from its fleet every eight days.