In Brief

A380 First Class new suite colours

Emirates starts largest known fleet retrofit

Emirates has kick-started its plans to upgrade the entire interior cabins of 120 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft – two of the largest commercial aircraft types in service.

This ambitious project, representing a multi-billion-dollar investment to ensure Emirates’ customers “fly better” for the coming years, officially commences in November and is managed entirely by Emirates’ Engineering team.

The target is to completely retrofit four Emirates aircraft from start to finish every month, continuously for over 2 years. Once the 67 earmarked A380s are refreshed and back in service, 53 777s will undergo their facelift. This will see nearly 4,000 brand new Premium Economy seats installed, 728 First Class suites refurbished and over 5,000 Business Class seats upgraded to a new style and design when the project is complete in April 2025.

In addition, carpets and stairs will be upgraded, and cabin interior panels refreshed with new tones and design motifs including the iconic ghaf trees which are native to the UAE.


Etihad Airways addresses China travel demand

Etihad Airways is set to strengthen air connectivity between the UAE and China, starting with an additional weekly frequency on its Abu Dhabi – Shanghai route.

Subject to regulatory approval, from February 2023, the airline will fly to Pudong International Airport (PVG) two times per week using modern Boeing 787 and 777 aircraft.

Combined with a weekly service to Beijing and a twice-weekly service to Guangzhou, this will provide travellers with five weekly nonstop flights between Abu Dhabi and China.

Martin Drew, Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Cargo at Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad Airways is delighted to add a second weekly passenger service to Shanghai following the further relaxation of Covid-related travel measures.

“China is a market of primary importance to Etihad, and as one of the country’s largest financial and economic centres, Shanghai plays a crucial role in our network.”


Royal Jordanian ticks the punctuality box

Royal Jordanian was ranked as the Middle East and Africa’s (MEA) second most on-time airline for the year 2022 - according to Cirium, the global aviation analytics leader. The On-Time Performance Review was prepared at the start of the current year, assessing the performance of all airlines across the MEA region. 

According to the review, 86.76 per cent of RJ departure and arrival flights were on time during 2022, earning it the following placement among the top five airlines in the region: Oman Air, Royal Jordanian, Kuwait Airways, Emirates and Qatar Airways. Full flight data from a broad range of airlines, RJ being one, over the course of 12 months was taken into consideration to produce the list of most on-time airlines, airports and low-cost carriers for 2022.

Cirium’s data is designed to provide industry stakeholders with an independent, third-party perspective, based on the widest and deepest pool of data collected and curated from multiple sources of real-time flight information.


Delta introduces fast, free onboard Wi-Fi

Delta will offer fast, free Wi-Fi in partnership with T-Mobile to all customers on board most domestic mainline flights beginning February 1 – the first major U.S. airline to offer free Wi-Fi as a core element of its customer experience.

The airline will offer the service on more than 700 Viasat-equipped aircraft by the end of 2023. Delta also announced plans to bring free Wi-Fi on international and regional aircraft by the end of 2024.

“At work, at home and everywhere in between, connectivity is essential to daily life, and your journey on Delta should be no different,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian at CES 2023 in Las Vegas. “Our vision has long been to deliver an experience at 30,000 feet that feels similar to what our customers have available on the ground.”

Designed to fuel Delta’s vision of more personalized travel, customers will log in using their Delta SkyMiles account or join SkyMiles on the ground or in the air for free to connect.