Dubai: Emirates airline’s newly-launched ‘Premium Economy’ seats have been a big hit with passengers, who “have been clamoring to get into them,” according to the airline’s President Tim Clark.
In December, Emirates introduced the premium economy cabin along with enhancements across all cabins onboard its latest A380 aircraft. The airline has plans to retrofit its existing A380 fleet with premium economy seats.
“We are in the process of trying to establish just how many of the existing fleet we can put through conversion, we’re going to do that at pace,” said Clark during an interview conducted by the Centre for Aviation (CAPA).
“That’s a mega million-dollar expenditure but we’re going to do that,” he added.
Will drive profit
Premium economy will “enhance the income per seat miles in kilometer” and allow Emirates to have a much more diversified offering, said Clark.
Clark said that Emirates’ partnership with Australia’s Qantas was in a state of ‘deep freeze’ at the moment.
Prior to the pandemic, both the airlines had a codeshare agreement – a business arrangement where the carriers would market and publish a particular flight as part of their own schedule or timetable
Currently, there’s a ban on overseas travel from Australia unless granted an exemption. Following a temporary suspension in January, Emirates announced that it will resume passenger flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
In a statement last month, Emirates said the pandemic had made “international flying incredibly challenging, and the dynamic restrictions and requirements implemented by the different state authorities in Australia had added complexity and burden to our operations.”
“I hope Qantas would be equally keen as we are to restore the relationship right out of the deep freeze when we’re through all this,” said Clark.
Working with Etihad
Emirates and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad are the region’s largest airlines, and the pandemic had again sparked rumors of a possible merger.
Clark believes both the airlines could have synergies in cargo operations. However, keeping the brands separate and continuing as competitors is still the way forward, he added.