Premium Economy on Cathay Pacific
Emirates Airline is planning to launch a premium economy cabin within 18 months according to the airline’s President, Sir Tim Clark, who says that premium economy is an option to reduce declining yields.
Sir Tim Clark stated to Air Transport World that “we are at the stage of finding what form it will take.”
But Clark also admitted the project would require quite a “big upheaval” and adaption of the carrier’s 250 planes as well as those scheduled for delivery.
“I would think within the next year to 18 months, we will have it in the airline, hopefully up and running,” he said, according to the publication.
Will it work?
The EK 777/380 fleet lends itself to a Premium Economy cabin; but the 777 and 380 products will likely be different; as they are in other classes.
There is a marked comfort difference between the Business and Economy products offered on the A380 compared to the far more cramped products on the 777.
On the 380 it may be necessary to make the Economy product less comfortable in order to better sell a Premium Economy product.
A premium economy product on both the 777 and A380 would likely be in a 2-4-2 configuration (compared to the current 3-4-3 in Economy) with maybe 36 or 38 inches of legroom; compared to the existing 32 inches.
But remember that in the two class A380s Emirates already offers a 2-4-2 economy product on the top deck of the A380 cabin.
Of course the risk is that existing business class fliers choose to downgrade to a premium economy cabin.
An improved menu, better wines, additional baggage allowance, leg-rests, a 19inch wide seat – all of these are likely in a premium economy product. Maybe with an exclusive cabin that can be completely shut off from economy class.
Yes it will work; it is probably overdue. And it will allow Emirates to phase out first class on many routes where there is limited if and demand.