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Dubai deluxe

The 2017 Dubai Airshow was the venue for the launch of Emirates’ new interior for some of its Boeing 777-300ER fleet

The initial inspiration for the new interior came from a 2014 visit by a team from Emirates to Mercedes-Benz designers at a design workshop at Woburn Abbey in the UK. This provided an opportunity to see some the car company’s prototypes, including the new S-Class, which was then under development. Some of the features that have made it into the cabin include soft leather seating, stitching patterns, control panels and mood lighting, although subsequent inputs have come from Pierrejean Design Studio, Teague and Boeing.

The upgrade will be installed on 15 Boeing 777-300ERs that are the last to be delivered from a 2006 order for 150 aircraft. Two aircraft were delivered in November with the new interior, it having been installed on the line at Boeing. The remaining 13 aircraft will follow the same procedure. Services were launched in December from Dubai to Brussels and Geneva, and nine aircraft should be in service by the end of 2018.

It might seem surprising that such a major upgrade should be fitted to such a small number of aircraft but Emirate’s President, Tim Clark, says it will be the template for the future, although some of the technologies, such as IFEC and power supplies, may yet change. That means elements will reappear in some of the 46 Airbus A380s still to be delivered, as well as in 150 Boeing 777Xs due from 2020 and 40 787-10 Dreamliners from 2022.


For the 777-300ER, the configuration is 6F/42C/306Y (no Premium Economy).


The main feature of the First Class cabin is comprised of six fully enclosed 3.7m² private suites, laid out in a 1+1+1 configuration, each of which has a two metre high floor-to-ceiling door. These were designed in collaboration with Boeing, Rockwell Collins Interior Systems (also supplying Business Class seats), Pierrejean Design Studio, Panasonic, and Teague.

The seat is up to 30in wide and reclines from an upright position to a 78in fully flat bed. The electrically-operated leg rest, backrest, headrest, armrest, seat frame, leg rest extension and seat pan extension enable the seat to convert to a ‘zero gravity’ setting inspired by NASA technology. The seats also convert to pre-set positions (upright, dining, lounge, bed lounge or bed) or to any intermediate position to suit personal preferences.

These are adjusted using what Panasonic Avionics calls a next generation mode controller. This is a slim tablet with a 13in capacitive touch screen and offers wifi, Bluetooth, an HD camera, a microphone and a speaker. It is also used to control the airline’s IFE system, ‘ice’, which comprises a 32in HD LCD screen with ultra-wide viewing angles, a touch screen and an LED backlight; the suite’s chandelier-style lights; and its temperature. The camera allows passengers to make room service video calls to communicate in real time with the cabin crew, as well as to set the Do Not Disturb mode.

In addition, a wireless handset control has been inspired by the smooth curves of a pebble, which fits naturally in the palm of a passenger’s hand. It allows untethered control over the ‘ice’ entertainment system, affecting a comfortable feeling of a ‘home TV experience’. The handset offers a full set of buttons for interactive navigation and control over volume, lights, the inflight TV and calling over flight attendants, as well as putting the system to sleep. The sleep button is unique in its convenience, as passengers simply have to press a single button to go to sleep mode and it only takes a second press to restore full functionality to the suite.

A panel beside the seat controls the in-suite mood lighting, which has 10 ambient settings and seven different colour schemes.

There is ample space for work, reading or dining, with a work desk and pull-out dining table measuring 74cm x 48cm. A special insert within the desk features stationery, as well as Byredo skincare products and fragrances. A cocktail table also extends from the suite console.

In both First Class and Business Class, a new HD Premium seat box supports noise-cancelling audio jacks. The seat box has an almost 20% higher graphic performance compared to other IFE system types. A new slim seat power module, with reduced weight and a thinner profile, provides high power DC voltage to a new, single USB Type-C jack and the existing USB Type-A jack.


Storage space includes a full length wardrobe, overhead stowage, baggage storage in the seat armrest and extra space below the TV for bags or shoes.


There is a personal mini bar with refreshing drinks and snacks while a video call feature allows customers to order room service.

Private suites in the middle row have virtual windows – a feature exclusive to Emirates – fed by external cameras.

The new interior also uses a new palette of colours featuring soft greys, cream and champagne, delivering an open and airy feel. >>


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