Emirates says it will continue Melbourne-Singapore flights

While seeking to end its Brisbane-Singapore flights, Emirates says it will keep the Melbourne-Singapore service.

By David Flynn, September 17 2019
Emirates says it will continue Melbourne-Singapore flights

Emirates maintains it will continue direct flights between Melbourne and Singapore, despite the airlines' plan to withdraw from the Brisbane-Singapore route due to "substantial losses" after declining revenues and increasing costs.

The Gulf airline and Qantas partner currently flies a Boeing 777-300ER daily from both Melbourne and Brisbane to Singapore, with those flights then continuing on to Dubai. The add-on Australian leg is what's known as a "fifth freedom flight" – an arrangement permitting airline to carry passengers between foreign countries as a part of a service connecting to its own country.

Emirates is now seeking to end its Brisbane-Singapore EK432/EK433 flights, although the parent Singapore-Dubai flights will remain. The airline says that over recent years "the market has changed, making it a more challenging environment for Emirates... specifically, overcapacity, declining revenues and rising costs have resulted in Emirates suffering substantial losses on the route."

Read more: Here's why Emirates wants to axe its Brisbane-Singapore flights

However, Emirates says it harbours no similar plans to close the counterpart Melbourne-Singapore EK404/EK405 service.

Melbourne-Singapore is safe, Emirates says

In the airline's submission to the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore seeking approval to shutter Singapore-Brisbane flights, Emirates notes that "it will continue to serve the Singapore market from Dubai to Singapore and will continue to operate fifth freedom services from Singapore to Melbourne."

Emirates has been steadily drawing down on Australian 'fifth freedom' flights, having scuppered trans-Tasman Airbus A380 flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland across 2017-2018 and now retaining only a daily Sydney-Christchurch superjumbo (EK412/EK413) which slots into the parent Dubai-Sydney service.

At the time, Emirates CEO Tim Clark remarked that demand on its Australia-Auckland flights was reduced after the airline launched non-stop flights between Auckland and Dubai, leaving the superjumbo as too large an aircraft for the trans-Tasman hop.

“I guess if we had a smaller aeroplane we might not have” cancelled the New Zealand flights, Clark pondered. “The A380 is just too big for the market.”


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1209

If it is going to be kept, it needs to be retimed. I understand all EK flights are ultimately set to align with banks at the DXB hub but it currently arrives into MEL at a very late hour and then the aircraft sits on the ground for 18 hours. Even when it does go back, it is within 1 hour of QF37 so doesn't really offer a compelling flight time.

I don't know if it works for the DXB banks but either an overnight departure (say midnight) from Melbourne or 7AM departure from Melbourne would offer a new time for those heading to SIN using QF/EK rather than SQ.

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1245

Emirates also reaffirmed its commitment to its trans-Tasman AKL flights just months before discontinuing all of them, so make of this what you will.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jan 2017

Total posts 2

I had a bad experience flying SIN-MEL with Emirates. The service was bad even there was only 4 of us in First cabin.

I ordered pineapple juice for my meal. They asked if I need ice with it, which I said yes. And later on they gave me water!!!

Food was bad too. Beef short ribs looked and tasted like briskets, and was so bad I couldn't eat. Grilled tiger prawns took more than 30' to heat up and looked like steamed/boiled prawns. Pappardelle was dried.

I didn't bother order dessert after that terrible meal.

Compared to Qantas First, I reckon Qantas is way better (in both food and service). Only 4 First class passengers (out of 8), and their service (Emirates) wasn't even there.

A week later, my mate flew the very same flight and it wasn't better. When he ordered the sticky date pudding, the hostie told him it is a warm dessert, made him thinking they didn't want to serve that (maybe taking them more time to prepare). He got sick the day after the flight and reckon it was the food he was served.

We will never fly Emirates First again. It's a waste of money.

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