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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 lounge, first class suites, onboard 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.