Emirates axes Sydney-Auckland Airbus A380 flights

By Chris Chamberlin, May 31 2017

Emirates will cancel its daily Airbus A380 flights between Sydney and Auckland from July 13 2017, with the Gulf carrier saying the superjumbo service is being retired "to optimise capacity on this route in line with changes in demand."

In its place, Qantas will upgrade four daily Sydney-Auckland services – QF140/146 and QF143/149 – from Boeing 737s to Airbus A330s sporting the airline's highly-regarded Business Suite seats at the pointy end.

The axed A380s flights are EK418 from Sydney to Auckland and EK419 from Auckland back to Sydney. Passengers booked on these services will be rebooked onto Qantas flights QF143 and QF146, which will run daily from July 13.

The Red Roo's trans-Tasman Airbus A330 schedule from Thursday July 13 runs as below:

Note that Sunday's QF140 and Saturday's QF149 will still run, but do so using Boeing 737 jets.

Emirates' decision will be a blow to savvy travellers who booked Emirates’ EK418/EK419 flights to enjoy the superjumbo’s business class seats, inflight bar and loungefirst class suitesonboard showers and inflight WiFi on the admittedly short flight. 

However, Qantas rostering its Airbus A330s on the morning and afternoon/evening services patronised by many business travellers is a definite upgrade from the business class experience of its Boeing 737s.

The move will should help Qantas compete with Kiwi rival Air New Zealand, which runs its Boeing 777-300ER and Boeing 787 jets – which sport international-grade business class seats which convert into lie-flat beds – across the Tasman at peak periods.

Earlier this month Air New Zealand CEO Chris Luxon told Australian Business Traveller that he didn’t consider Emirates’ A380s as “a big threat” because their specific schedule – tied to the Dubai-Sydney flights – “doesn’t always work for a business traveller.”

Emirates' other trans-Tasman A380 routes of Sydney-Christchurch, Melbourne-Auckland and Brisbane-Auckland are unaffected.

The Qantas partner will also retain its daily Sydney-Bangkok flight which currently runs as a continuation of the Auckland-Sydney journey, with Qantas' new Airbus A330 service taking Auckland-based travellers the first leg of the way, before hopping aboard Emirates' Bangkok flight.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 589

Sounds like EK and QF have come to an agreement.  

EK can get better usage out of their A380s or reduce crew costs by turning the A380 around in SYD whilst QF get better usage out of A332s which are a bit too much on a lot of PER services following end of mining boom.

06 Jan 2015

Total posts 69

Interesting point, their loads on Per/Mel have been very very high the last few months on the multiple occasions I have flown them.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1385

Is EK retiming it's SYD flights or parking the aircraft?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 332

Good question. I suspect the SYD-BKK-DXB flight might now depart SYD much earlier in the day.

15 Feb 2013

Total posts 143

I was wondering the same, considering the point of sending the aircraft to NZ and back was to get more utilisation, and avoid parking costs in Sydney.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

17 Apr 2014

Total posts 15

How would you like to book on an EK380 and land up with QF330. I would rather go Air NZ. Emirates to me appear to be in trouble if they have to cancel such flights. What a shame that SQ does not have the same access that EK and QF has on all Trans Tasman services and for that matter to the US.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

About time QF put the A330 on some trans-Tasman flights! The 737 has long lagged behind EK and AirNZ offerings. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 461

Wow! 

Emirates ceding capacity and flights to Qantas...just wow!

Big win for Qantas customers getting the late flight over to AKL (which I often do). Going from a B737 to A330 is a massive win - though the proof will be in the pricing pudding...

What does this mean for the competitive pricing that NZ flights to Auckland have had til now?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Apr 2013

Total posts 29

I'd also like to see one of EK join AKL -SIN with a EK/QF code and QF pick up a SIN - Australia frequency in its place. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2013

Total posts 137

Presumably these will be operated by mainline rather than Jetconnect. 

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

21 Jan 2016

Total posts 162

These flights will have Jetconnect cabin crew, as the A332 will be over night in AKL. Jetconnect crew are Kiwi's based in AKL. I want be surprise that the flight would have kiwi flight crew that have been retained for A332 operations.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 335

Jetconnect crew don't operate the A330 so this will be Qantas crew

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

21 Jan 2016

Total posts 162

Its cheaper for QF to train and use Jetconnect crew on A332's since the aircraft is over nighting in AKL. Jetconnect crew are on NZ employment contracts which cheaper that Australian based and employed cabin crew and Jetconnect crew live in AKL, as Australian crew will need overnight accommodation. Jetconnect does provide additional crewing for QF flights as required in addition to the B738's services.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 335

I am more than extremely well aware about Jetconnect crew, trust me. However, they don't operate on the A330 and will not be.

16 May 2017

Total posts 3

Nice! Look forward to flying on the A332 later this year... The single aisle planes are just too tiny for my liking :) 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 335

And a much better business product than Air New Zealand in my opinion!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2014

Total posts 33

I have to agree, those Vantage XL seats are among the best in the sky!

31 May 2017

Total posts 4

Great for NZ travellers to get A330 product vs 737's

NZ does not often get to see QF at its best...

10 Sep 2015

Total posts 5

that's very true!
undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

All sounds good to me. QF increasing the J/C suite/wide body options. Airlines adjusting their aircraft/capacity/services where/when possible via their alliances. All part of running a business. It's a sub 3HR flight peoples. Have you become THAT PRECIOUS???

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 130

Emirates and China Airlines pulling widebodies off the route. Is this saying something...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 273

When are Air Chine pulling out of the route? I know they have suspended some flights but looking at their scedule ex BNE from November they are daily to Auckland. 

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 130

They are daily to Auckland from BNE but they are completely pulling out of SYD-AKL route.

China Airlines - Dynasty Flyer

12 May 2017

Total posts 7

CI is reducing the frequency on SYD-AKL route from four times a week to three times a week until 25 October 2017.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1385

Interesting. Though would have preferred EBG/ EBL on these routes so you don't get surprised on the Asian routes - you don't need a fully flat bed for NZ

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 332

I suspect they might try that - does SYD-PEK-SYD-AKL-SYD work?

15 Feb 2013

Total posts 143

PEK-SYD-AKL is about 15 hours, add 1.5 hours between, them, then 1.5 hours at the end to reverse the direction and it's easily within 24 hours. Could actually fit in a MEL-SYD return if you had to, but would be at the wrong terminal!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1385

It would work for QF149 overnight AKL, back as QF140, then off to PEK, but not for the other two flights
sgb
sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

Oh no, terrible news. Hope they don't do the same from Melbourne.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jul 2015

Total posts 14

You and me both, I'm booked on that route in Aug/Sep!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Oct 2016

Total posts 40

I'm booked on one too! It will be my first time on an A380 and Emirates

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 222

Does that mean no more A380 routes to New Zealand? Shame - their First class tickets during discounts were incredibly cheap (compared to normal F), so it might have been worth a gamble. 

Thus ends First Class from AU to NZ I suppose. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 305

The articles states it's just SYD-AKL. Other routes remain unaffected (Sydney-Christchurch, Melbourne-Auckland and Brisbane-Auckland).
sgb
sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

Unaffected for now....

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 222

I don't know why I'm getting downvoted, I don't memorize all the flight plants Emirates has. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1138

Um, it's literally stated in the article.

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 130

I wouldn't study flight plants either
sgb
sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

What it means is no more showers en route from Sydney to Auckland. Oh, the great unwashed, yuck!!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 108

I think you will be fine with not showering for 3-4 hours. It is a shame though...
Good on you QF! Great to see your new BC suites going accross the ditch!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

Boo hoo, I'm sure you can survive 3.5 hours without a shower. Mind you the size of most people up the front nowadays couldn't sit for 10 minutes without sweating.
sgb
sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

POS (Persons of Size) help in evenly spreading weight distribution if they are up front.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1138

Wow. Did not see this coming at all.

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 97

I always thought this was "free capacity" as the alternative was leaving the A380 on the ground in Sydney for an extended period for its turnaround - will that schedule change?

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

23 May 2013

Total posts 41

Now Qantas just need to upgrade the AKL lounge!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Nov 2015

Total posts 4

Emirates current shortage of Pilots may also be a contributing factor in some service reductions.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 May 2017

Total posts 1

Flew with Emirates on a QF ticket in F last weekend. It's such a shame as it was a great way to earn lots of status credits for a short haul trip. I will be saddened by the change of aircraft as Emirates First Class is significantly better than Qantas.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Nov 2015

Total posts 20

Going to miss el cheapo F fares :-(
Being a agent this was an amazing upsell from a QF JQ NZ VA product, and most people would go for the EK product over the above due it being An a380 and amazing prices. I guess now LA from sydney will see a huge increase as well. Ashame an amazing product and service is departing this route. 

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

@Tonyfisicaro86:

On Trans Tasman routes, I don't think EK ever has a big problem finding takers for a maximum of no more than 14 F suites per 380 flight.  They may even achieve ok load factor in filling about 400 Y seats per 380 flight as Y segment is far less demanding re  frequency/departure timing choices.

I suspect the real problem for EK is trying to find enough pax, mostly biz travelers, to fill 76 J seats on a 380 everyday base on a single daily departure schedule which precisely fits everyone's work/meeting schedule better than competing carriers' multiple daily schedules.  E.g., it's impossible to do day trip for a quick meeting @ SYD or AKL with EK(Also CI) but possible with QF, NZ, VA, etc....removing 1 night of hotel spent away fm the family.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

If I remember correctly, the 2nd largest J cabin, after EK's 380, on any Trans Tasman flight contains no more than 44 seats(i.e. NZ's 77W).

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

21 Jan 2016

Total posts 162

That is one of the underlaying decisions for withdrawing SYD/AKL/SYD A380 services if the some what empty P and J classes.

QF

24 Jan 2016

Total posts 27

As EK418/9 will now turn around in SYD, I'm hoping that the SYD-BKK sector will depart earlier. The current arrival time in BKK at 1am-ish isn't a great time to arrive. 
Hopefully some competition for the early TG flight 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Apr 2014

Total posts 35

Wow no priority lane for QF gold and no first class style lounge with selection of hot food and real champagne as you will not get this on qantas and lounge  ,,,,, I wil be sorry to see emeraites stop this services .

Happy I exerienced luxury , I will savour my flight home today from Auckland.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

Why should a tier 3 from the top be entitled to priority lane?
RobertK & Doubleplatinum: Qantas Gold cardholders are entitled to use the priority boarding prior to Qantas domestic and international flights as a published benefit (so you won't lose this by the flight switching from Emirates to Qantas), as they are across the Oneworld network via the Oneworld Sapphire gemstone, on Emirates via the Qantas+Emirates partnership and on China Eastern via its similar partnership with Qantas. Access is usually provided to the business class lanes, with Platinum/Emerald members given access to the first class lanes where available.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2015

Total posts 51

So where are they getting this "extra" metal from? Surely they don't have A330's just sittting around? Have they purchased some...or does it mean that a 787 is replacing an A330 on a route into Singapore or Hong Kong?

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 295

More 737's on East West routes

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 332

Might well be the usage of EBG and EBL when not on SYD-PEK.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1138

The Qantas press release suggests only the refurbished A332s will operate the trans-Tasman flights.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

21 Jan 2016

Total posts 162

The writing was on the wall  for EK's SYD/AKL/SYD flights, especially when EK introduced DBX/AKL/DBX flights. It makes sense for EK to co-share with QF on the new AKL/SYD/AKL services.

01 May 2017

Total posts 1

Oddly I am trying to book QF149 on Monday 17th July but Qantas site still shows this as being operated by a 737.  Either site has not been updated to reflect their announcment (although other dates seem fine) or I have misunderstood something?

01 Jun 2017

Total posts 11

It is high time EK stops SYD-AKL route as they have started direct DXB-AKL. The DXB-BKK-SYD-AKL flight is amazingly long.  No business traveller would do this number of hooks to get to DXB. EK has recently started DXB-BNE flying out 2200 hours thanks to QF rerouting QF9 via PER releasing an extra slot. Releasing this SYD-AKL slot is a placeholder for EK to do DXB-AKL at 2130 hours where morning flights departing Europe (0900-1930) will dovetail into this flight neatly. With this EK could also start a departure from SYD at 1600 arriving DXB 12am to dovetail into those 2am flights to Europe.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

I don't think EK have ever banked on traffic going AKL - SYD - BKK - DXB. They get most of their profits on individual sectors which, especially on the west bound legs, have traditionally been pretty well loaded. I'm guessing this is less about failure to make profit as it is a rejigging of crew and plane allocation and a deal with QF.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2014

Total posts 20

From an operational view it made sense as at least several times a month either EK 434 or EK 418 was late and it would result in the flow on effects onto EK 449 or EK 407 to be late.....

With EK 418/9 is it going to mean BKK/SYD will get extra seats as they don't need the crew rest configured 380, they were only using it when they rotated it with EK 434/5? The sectors on EK 418/419 are so short they don't need the crew rest anymore.... Emirates may just park the jumbo all day like they do in MEL with EK 404/405.......

01 Jun 2017

Total posts 2

I have a EK flight in july - after d.12.

It still say Airbus 380 in my booking??

The cancel is not mention on EK websites? 

17 May 2012

Total posts 81

Surely there is less traffic on the EK A380 Brisbane Auckland / Melb Auckland/ Sydney Christchurch?

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 152

Yeah but Qantas likely wouldn't want to put an A330 onto any of those flights.  

02 Jun 2017

Total posts 1

Wonder what the ACCC will think when both airlines told the ACCC that  codesharing across the Tasman wouldn't reduce competition?

16 Dec 2015

Total posts 5

I fly this route monthly almost exclusively on s QF economy ticket on an EK flight because of the spaciousness of the aircraft, the superior service and meals and the opportunity of using the EK AKL lounge. The switching to the A330 might overcome the first of these differences but none of the others, and particularly the woeful inadequacy of the QF AKL lounge. I take it that access to the brilliant EK AKL lounge will no longer be an option?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1138

Access will be subject to "capacity controls" - which are essentially dictated by the lounge attendants.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Nov 2016

Total posts 72

I fly Syd/BKK and Syd/Singapore with Qantas in Business Class regularly and recently they have downgraded to the older A330 36 BC seat configuration instead of the refurbished 28 BC Suites. Qantas promoted the BC Suites and said they would be on these runs by 2016 (Ausbt article). I was informed by one employee that Qantas has now decided to keep the "old metal" on those routes. Very disappointing. That being said, why wouldn't you fly Emirates 380 now. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Aug 2016

Total posts 7

Maybe sometime we'll see QF A330's on the MEL/AKL sector rather than JetConnect's squeezy B737's.

06 Dec 2014

Total posts 22

As someone who flies to BNE/PER/BNE at least four times a year and who likes to use FF points to upgrade to business I've noticed a difference in aircraft recently. Qantas has replaced the A332 on a number of flights with 737s. I imagine that this is where the A330s will come from for the trans Tasman routes. It's a pity as the flight to Perth is considerably longer than any flight across the ditch. Coming back isn't so bad. QF651/650 are an example of flights where the downgrade has happened.

As a Gold FF, I already have lounge access so upgrading to J on a 738 is a waste of my points.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jan 2017

Total posts 5

There go 8 business and 2 first class A380 frequent flyer award seats return trip in March 2018 - probably was too good to last but Qantas have not been in touch re the change of equipment/carrier

17 May 2012

Total posts 81

Since day one of the alliance with EK, Qantas were always going to spoil the party. Up went prices, FF benefits went down, fees went up and became confusing, menus changed, Singapore dropped for Dubai  and now this. And as usual QF brag about the aircraft they are going to use.and then flip them back to something less when the attention is off a la Singapore and Perth. At best you can say is they are predictable..

03 Jun 2017

Total posts 1

I´m booked in Oct AKL-SYD on EK First Class and I wont accept be downgraded to QF Business Class. I´ll ask them to send me via DXB... What about?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 7

Family booked on EK418 in January, was willing to change ex Mel/Bne instead to be on the A380 but the Qantas site is not showing any EK flights BNE/AKL or MEL/AKL flights??

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Nov 2016

Total posts 72

Looks like a lot of people besides me are going to be duded with these changes. I suggest you call Qantas and complain. I did. At least they should give notice to FF flyers so changes can be made. Not just find out when you get on the plane. Very poor customer service. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2017

Total posts 40

So sad! Emirates economy is like business class on Qantas.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 7

Can Qantas NOT honor my booking?  They will not be happy with a booking for 6 J award seats now on a A300 capacity.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

05 Jun 2017

Total posts 29

 I must admit to chuckling when I hear all these disgruntled QF loyalists who continue to be screwed by QF deception, inferior planes, lounges, BC and F seats. I am at a loss as to why they remain loyal to an airline that doesn't even try to make them feel special, considered or valued.

I moved away from QF 20 years ago when I had had enough of their antics and woeful service. I now fly EK exclusively on my trips to Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, UAE, UK and Germany. QF has continued to deceive and decline since that time.

I am a platinum Skywards member and I cannot fault the quality of EK lounges, planes, F and BC seats, quality of service and organisation.

C'mon QF losers! Get with the strength. Ditch QF and experience a real airline!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Sep 2014

Total posts 5

So... Emirates changes their network configuration and this is somehow QF's fault. Lol

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