Emirates Airline is investing US$ 600-plus million in inflight products and services.
Emirates has entered into long-term agreements with B/E Aerospace, Panasonic Avionics Corporation, and JAMCO Corporation. The contracts for top-of-the-range, custom-built cabin interior products and next generation inflight entertainment and communication systems were signed by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group, and are applicable to the airline’s new aircraft purchases as well as retrofits to its existing fleet.
Sheikh Ahmed said, “In the fiercely-contested premium air travel segment, seat comfort and inflight entertainment are the key differentiators, and we intend to stay ahead of the game with our ground-breaking entertainment system, ice, and the corporate jet quality of our premium classes.”
In a deal worth US$ 120 million, Emirates has selected B/E Aerospace, a leading manufacturer of aircraft cabin interior products to retrofit its existing B777-300ER and A340-500 fleet, and equip its new B777 aircraft with the airline’s signature First Class private suites and lie-flat Business Class seats. In addition, the contract includes First Class private suites installation for the airline’s new A380 aircraft purchases. It does not cover optional aircraft.
Emirates’ First Class private suites were first introduced by the airline in 2003. Amongst the suite’s key features are: a fully-flat bed with in-seat massage, dine-on-demand room service, in-suite personal mini bar, and sliding doors for the ultimate in privacy. The suites also offer extended floor space, stowage room for hand baggage and a personal wardrobe.
Emirates Business Class boasts multi-zone massage seats that recline to a 78” long lie-flat bed, providing ample room for taller passengers. The seats ensure maximum personal space with high privacy dividers.
Emirates has also inked a massive US$ 500 million deal with PAC for the eX2 inflight digital entertainment system, which includes interactive audio, video, games, communication and connectivity support, for the airline’s existing fleet and new aircraft purchases.
Panasonic’s eX2 system powers Emirates’ signature ice (information, communication, entertainment) system which offers over 600 channels of on-demand entertainment, together with seatback sms and email services, and live text news updates throughout the flight.
At present almost 60% of Emirates’ fleet is ice equipped, and by December 2008 the airline will have increased the system’s presence to cover about 70% of its fleet.
An enhanced version of ice, called the ice Digital Widescreen featuring wide-screen TVs measuring 23” in First Class, 17” in Business and 10.6” in Economy, offer even more programming choices, as well as innovative features such as My USB and My Playlist. This is already being introduced as part of a continual upgrade programme.