Emirates has confirmed it will be extending premium economy to most of its long-haul fleet.

It’s about time. What would ultimately become today’s premium economy was launched 30 years ago by Taiwan’s Eva Air and the UK’s Virgin Atlantic.

Since then almost all global airlines have jumped on the bandwagon with the notable exception of the Gulf airlines.

Emirates unveiled its premium economy seat in late 2020, with features including up to 40 inches of seat pitch, 19.5 inches of seat width, eight inches of recline, and a 13.3-inch IFE screen.

Emirates unveils premium economy seat

This superior economy class has already been installed on a few of Emirates’ A380s and this summer it was available for sale on the Dubai-London route.

The latest news is that premium economy will be retrofitted to 53 Boeing 777s and a further 52 A380s.

But don’t hold your breath. This retrofitting will take 18 months and will not commence until the end of 2022.

However Emirates says that by the end of December this year the new seating will be available on A380s operating to Frankfurt, London Heathrow, New York JFK and Paris CDG.

Where will premium economy be located? On the B777 the 24 seats will be installed just behind business class and configured 2-4-2, while on the A380 the 56 seats will be located on the lower deck front cabin and again configured 2-4-2.

Says Emirates president Sir Tim Clark, “Since we introduced our premium economy seats a year back, we’ve received a hugely positive response.

“We are also considering a brand new business class product. More details will be revealed in due course.”

One wonders which other Gulf airlines will follow Emirates’ lead ?