Qantas partner and aviation behemoth Emirates has applied to competition regulators to cancel its daily Brisbane-Singapore service (which continues on to Dubai), citing “substantial losses” on the route, according to a report in The Business Times. It would continue to operate its existing Brisbane-Dubai direct flights.
If this is approved, it would represent yet another reduction of ‘fifth freedom’ routes operated by the airline between Australia and Asia/New Zealand. In the past couple of years, Emirates has cancelled all services between Australia and New Zealand except Sydney-Christchurch, and we’ve also seen the loss of the Sydney-Bangkok service.
If (when) Brisbane-Singapore is cancelled, the only remaining Emirates flight to Asia will be Melbourne-Singapore.
This is a shame, because flying Emirates business and first class to NZ and Asia has been one of the best uses of Qantas Points. Premium award seats were not that hard to find, and the experience – especially on the A380s – was outstanding.
Emirates has also been cutting capacity on direct routes between Australia and Dubai, reducing services to some cities and downgrading some aircraft from A380s to Boeing 777s (which feature a good first class product, but mediocre business class). Melbourne-Singapore is now operated by a 777, while Sydney-Christchurch remains an A380 service.
With tough competition on Australia-Asia and Australia-NZ routes, I’m not surprised this has happened – but still, it’s disappointing for those of us who like to fly to these places using Qantas Points.
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