Emirates suspends flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane

The Gulf carrier has cancelled its flights to Australia's three largest cities "until further notice."

By David Flynn, January 15 2021
Emirates suspends flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane

Emirates has suspended flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane "until further notice" following a drastic reduction in the number of international passengers allowed to arrive in Australia.

The airline's last flights to and from those cities are as follows:

  • Dubai-Brisbane (EK430), January 16
  • Brisbane-Dubai (EK431), January 17
  • Dubai-Sydney (EK414), January 18
  • Sydney-Dubai (EK415), January 19
  • Dubai-Melbourne (EK408), January 19
  • Melbourne-Dubai (EK409), January 20

However, the Gulf airline and Qantas partner is continuing its twice-weekly flights between Dubai and Perth.

Emirates cited "operational reasons" for the sudden cancellations.

The airline's website advises that "customers holding tickets with final destinations Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin after the completion of the above flights. Affected customers should contact their travel agent or Emirates contact centre for rebooking options."

"Australia remains an important market for Emirates," a spokesperson for the airline told Executive Traveller.

"We continue to serve Perth with twice-weekly flights and we are working hard to prepare for resumption of services to our other points.”

Another setback for stranded Aussies

The airline's decision represents a further setback for many of the 37,000 Australians overseas currently registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as wanting to return home.

Emirates has to date brought a steady flow of Australians home from overseas via its Dubai hub, with daily flights to Sydney and Melbourne, and five flights a week to Brisbane.

However, even under the previous cap of around 7,500 arrivals per week across all Australian airports, many airlines have been limited to between 30-50 passengers per flight, making the flights financially unviable.

As of January 15 the maximum number of weekly international arrivals was slashed to less than 5,000 "to manage the flow of returning Australians and other travellers who have been potentially exposed to the new variants" of coronavirus, said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia have each halved their weekly arrivals limit to a total of 2,517 passengers per week. South Australia remains pegged at 490, while Victoria continues to operate at less than half of its capacity, with some 1,120 arrivals per week.

Although Emirates' move has sparked concerns that other airlines could also cut their flights to Australia, the absence of the Gulf carrier will also allow those airlines which continue to operate to carry more passengers on an average weekly basis.

Executive Traveller understands that the government is planning another round of subsidised flights from the UK, the USA and India over the coming weeks.

David

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.

15 Jan 2021

Total posts 8

And rightly so. Why would intentional carrier subject their crew to mandatory detention, when they are already loosing money flying here. Others will follow. Either Australia drops the quarantine requirements or it can expect to not be serviced by ANY international airlines moving forward. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. A consequence of our elimination  nation strategy. 

21 Aug 2019

Total posts 53

It has been proactive management of the borders that have kept this country safe. In the last nine months I have farewelled an uncle in the UK and last weekend my father in law also in London. Both to Covid. We enjoy a relatively normal life in Australia whilst many others are impacted or dying in other countries. Let's keep control of the borders until other countries reach our standard of management of this virus. 

nick think you are getting confused between deaths & deaths caused by covid. eg. USA has had 2.8 million deaths for last few years & 2020 figures will probably be up slightly, while 2021 maybe less. Get it in perspective. Many deaths are from old age, not covid.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1265

Regular you seem obsessed with deaths while everyone else worries far more about overrun hospital systems, and no capacity to treat non covid cases. That is why most places are reintroducing longer lockdowns. Australia has the bug more or less under control, so much more strategic shorter lockdowns and border closures. If you had your way we wouldn’t be able to get into hospital with a broken arm even. In the UK ambulances are travelling 300km to find a hospital bed, and you’re wishing that on Australia.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 11

Can't agree more. With inbound passengers down in half, the airline will probably need to increase the fare significantly just to break even, let alone profitable.

Most Australia states have decided to eliminate COVID-19. Pretending to say that we are still trying to 'repress' COVID is laughable, except NSW. The huge community support (just look at how Brisbane residents so so so so readily wear masks in the past few weeks) only shows that we as a nation support such an approach con mucho gusto.

Consequently, Australia has become more and more isolated, living up to our primitive island mentality. Australia made the decision.  The voices of those who disagree seem to fall on deaf ears. Like Adz11 says, we can't have our cake and eat it too. Who cares for those who need to maintain close overseas connections, business or personal. Those people are second rate citizens. Who cares that Human Rights Watch has criticised our approach to handling COVID. Tough.

yes we need to open all borders ASAP with no quarantine

NZ

13 Aug 2016

Total posts 62

New Zealand pretty much has the same crew requirements as Australia.

Yet plenty of International airlines are still flying to/from AKL.

CX,SQ,EK,QR are all providing frequent passenger services.

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 235

New Zealand does not have flight caps. 

29 Nov 2018

Total posts 2

It essentially does as passengers have to pre-book a space in a managed isolation and quarantine facility before they book a flight. MIQ is essentially booked up till April. 

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 388

@cavemanzk

NZ does not require mandatory testing of all international fight crew on arrival

Aus apparently compels testing on arrival of crew in their quarantine hotel and transfer/detain those tested positive for 14 days in separate hotels.

A sure fire way of. losing your crews either attrition by detention or crews refusing to fly those routes (imagine if one of the pilot is detained)

Doesn’t look like the authorities even try to do antibodies testing in a hurry for those tested positive by nose PCR to try differentiating viral shredding from previous infection until the next day, judging by the way the announcements are done chronologically so in the meantime the detained people local people and international crews alike are sent to stay in those health centres until otherwise 

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 388

BTW  detained crew can also involve those with symptoms waiting for test results or even a negative result (recall the news beat up when a symptomatic United crew flew back on return leg a few months ago)

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1265

Caveman what about the 50% false negatives from antibody testing. That’s why UK schools are up in arms about it, as is the TGA. Airlines are completely out of order not to regularly test crews Ron long haul flights.

15 Jan 2021

Total posts 8

 Not true. NZ National carrier - Air NZ services over 90% of in bound flights into the country. Quarantining for 14 days in your own home is a lot easier than asking foreign air crew to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days. 

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1265

Adzll foreign reps only have to quarantine until the next flight ( not 14 days), unless they have the bug at which time they should be on sick leave being treated at the nearest clinic, and certainly not travelling. The same if you have any illness.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 593

Border closures by 2nd rate premieres for political reasons while riding the jobkeeper  wave. A regulatory authority which thinks it’s better than UK or US regulators with regard to timely vaccine implementation.  What a joke we’ve become. 

21 Aug 2019

Total posts 53

How many people have you lost to this virus Joe? Two in my case in the UK. It's because the State Premiers have done thier job that we have been able to live relatively freely. This is a site for aviation comments so will not keep on about the politics of this save that Emirates have little choice but to suspend and that we are as a nation in a far better place that the UK and US with virus management 

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1265

Joe you’re not seriously comparing Australian regulators negatively, to UK and US ones with their brilliant record of COVID management.

Border closures by power crazy rogue premieres to keep out the mutant virus which infected a hotel cleaner who managed to catch this highly transmissible virus and only managed to infect one other person (the husband who she no doubt had multiple chances for exposure with) and the 406 other people identified as having contact with her have all tested negative?         I feel sick to the stomach everyday trapped here inside WA, now in quarantine for having the audacity to travel interstate, by a complete madman. So worried that soon there will be no escape from prison island 

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1265

Lynne the Avalon cluster was from one traveller, and crossroads from one Victorian. We do have short memories.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 612

The Australian constitution needs to be changed, I know a bloke who crossed the Vic - NSW border to bring his elderly parents into Victoria for Xmas. The border closed and he can’t get home, he got stuck in NSW. Couldn’t have Xmas with his family, couldn’t sleep in his own bed and the location of SILVERDALE NSW being considered a hot spot in Greater Sydney is just stupid. SILVERDALE has had 1 case since March 2020.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 357

i wonder if adelaide services will be returning.

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 235

Never. Cancelled a long time ago. 

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 332

Surprised they ever serviced Adelaide at all. Don't think anyone outside of Australia has ever even heard of Adelaide. Don't get me wrong - it's a lovely city. Just saying it doesn't exactly slip off the tongue and there is very limited demand for international services to/from the city. At best, Fiji or New Zealand or Singapore. Singapore Airlines serves the city, OK, given many Singaporean students study in the city so that kind of makes sense.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 635

Er .. if Adelaide is so cleverly hidden from the entire world, then how would you explain the establishment of the South Australian wine industry by immigrants (particularly of German heritage) during the mid and late 1800's? 

I'm particularly intrigued to know, given that in those days the global population didn't appear to have Facebook, Twitter, airline or travel booking sites, Executive Traveller or even the internet. Perhaps, the pigeon population of the world must have been larger?

In reality, plenty of foreign airlines serve ADL. Just look at the pre-COVID history. Qantas maintain that there is no international demand and continues to refuse to service it. Perhaps, if they had started servicing it 30 years ago, it wouldn't have attracted so much attention from the internationals. If you give the market away, someone else will always come in and take it.

BTW, with a population of 1.336 million people (2020) Adelaide is a far larger market than Canberra at 457,000 and Newcastle at 450,000. Both Canberra (SQ, QR) and Newcastle seem to be able to justify international flights. Go figure ..

12 Feb 2013

Total posts 46

Situation could have been different or avoided altogether if they had the A350s with their lower operating costs?

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 235

Situation could be avoided if they could carry more than 10 passengers a flight. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Mar 2018

Total posts 15

The domestic border closures are absurd and I believe the Pm should have taken over control of those for the sake of jobs and economy. The international border being shut is what has saved Australia and whilst I am personally affected by it with family separation etc it must stay in place and sadly with EK cancelling services to Oz it further fuels my belief international travel won’t return until at least 2025+ even with a vaccine.

Tav
Tav

20 Oct 2020

Total posts 8

As a commercial organisation it’s their call, and as a commercial organisation they will undoubtably be back as soon as border restrictions lift.

I have no problem with the international border closures, the number of cases picked up in quarantine shows it is keeping COVID out of Australia. The government should be doing more to prioritise and return people with compassionate cases, and the internal state border closures are unhelpful - but international border restrictions are important right now.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 307

I feel for the Australian citizens trying to return home and these flight cancellations just make it harder, how any state govt could think of bringing in foreign students whilst our own people can’t get home is a disgrace and highlights just how pathetic most state governments except NSW have handled this thing and the state borders are a perfect example. 

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 87

I would love to bang on about the politicalisation policies v.a.v. the coronavirus epidemic as adopted by the state premiers, but enough has been said about that. Any reduction in flights to Australia is regrettable, as are the restrictions placed upon journeys out of Australia. More to the point, how safe is it to fly to Queensland from Victoria and be certain that we will be able to fly back without incurring a mandatory quarantine in some sleazy hotel. Should I take out Dan Andrews travel insurance? 

24 Dec 2013

Total posts 94

This is not another setback for stranded Aussies. The arrival caps are still the same. Passengers with Emirates tickets just need to book with another airline who will take over the quota that Emirates had. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 186

Indeed....I think this is actually more than EK doesnt have appropriate aircraft to fly at the moment, SQ and QR seem to be doing okay with the far more efficient 787s and A350s

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jun 2016

Total posts 43

SQ and QR do not serve every destination from which Aussies are trying to return - I should know, I. just flew in 12 days ago on Emirates. That was the easiest option with only the 1 stop in Dubai, or fly via the USA with 3 or more stops which was also not feasible.   QR have cancelled and bumped plenty of Aussies in the last few months compared to Emirates. I completely understand them not flying - economically not viable, even with an emphasis on cargo. There were 32 people on my flight from Dubai.  Agree, if they had smaller aircraft it might make a difference, but even so, 30 pax per flight is not a sound business proposition. Particularly if the return is with an almost empty aircraft.  

Roll on the vaccine and some form of return to normalcy.

24 Dec 2013

Total posts 94

This is simply not true. SQ and QR are each currently operating around 3 times as many flights into Australia than EK is. Not to mention both SQ and QR are flying into Adelaide which EK is not. I also don't know how you can possibly know that QR has bumped more passengers than EK unless you had passenger data on both airlines.  

15 Jan 2021

Total posts 8

There are a handful of airlines that fly to Australia and Emirates was the leading airline. This is a massive blow. 

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 388

The ball is now on the government’s court to organise more repatriation flights as soon as cap is reviewed and increased possibly from 15 feb.

Although there are talk of these flights being organised, more details and certainty is needed as the lack of details and certainty are just as distressing as the delays and queues to return.

Other international airlines may see if this will improve their access to more pax numbers although I suspected it’s more than just the pax caps but includes what the local authorities are demanding how these flight crews are treated on arrival (which makes the flight schedule unpredictable)

10 Jul 2020

Total posts 6

How long can this go on for with this ridiculous notion of elimination? We need to get on with our lives and have an approach like NSW. Controlled tracing of the virus. At the rate our country is going, we'll be shut off from the world indefinitely. What happened to flattening the curve so that our hospitals aren't overwhelmed? 

Unfortunately common sense dictates that there will be collateral if we're to go back to some sense of normality (deaths, illness etc which unfortunately is a part of life). 

It's amazing to see how frightened people have become of this virus when even the UK downgraded SARS-CoV-2 from a high consequence infectious disease. If you look at the deaths in Australia, almost 90% were in nursing homes. I don't see why the broader community should suffer? (Waiting for the typical "don't be selfish" comments)

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 235

Don't be selfish. Lockdowns save lives. We are all in this together. I love Dan. 

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1265

Jono it is not elimination and everyone has said that: it is suppression and getting community transmission down to negligible levels to avoid local lockdowns. One infected perso quickly leads to 100 as the Avalon cluster showed us.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Mar 2018

Total posts 15

Almost all State Premiers aside notably from NSW and the PM have said in the past week elimination.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1265

Flyer the states want community transmission down to negligible levels some call that elimination. NSW is happy to have under 10 per day and thousands of people in home quarantine as a result, compulsory mask wearing and other restrictions, which the other states don’t have. Where I am we are now six months without community transmission, very relaxed. If I go to Sydney much less relaxed. Thanks Gladys!!!

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 332

"The other states don't have". Actually they do - masks have been mandatory in Victoria since July 23. They slightly relaxed the rules 4 months later such that they're no longer necessary whenever you leave your home but still compulsory in all indoor spaces. Now Brisbane requires them too, reportedly whenever you leave your home. The rules in Adelaide are confusing - thought they introduced a mask rule too but apparently it's no longer in force? Tasmania, WA, the NT and the ACT currently don't have mask laws aside from the federal law of wearing masks at airports in place since earlier this month.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 332

Surprised that Emirates had even been offering all these flights given the stringent quarantine requirements for arrivals and the ban on non-Australian citizens (except permanent residents) in place.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 612

Me being a Queenslander living in NSW, I know so many Qlders breaking Covid rules even doctors who should know better, and I'm sure there getting more cases then actually reported. One day Qld had 1700 tests done (QLD health struggled to test people) while NSW was over 40,000 tested so of course NSW is going to pick up Covid cases. Glady for PM

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1265

Up Up you are taking a low Qld mark and comparing it to a high mark NSW is struggling to get 20,000 tested per day in the middle of the Western suburbs cluster, hence it keeps ticking along. The 40,000 was the Northern beaches cluster, which is under control. When there is an outbreak there should be high levels of testing Gladys is struggling on that at the moment. While Qld is back to zero cases.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 612

patrickk on those 40,000 testing days Penrith was included in those high testing numbers, 5 hour wait times in Penrith. People went to sleep in their cars waiting to do the test, could it be that no one is feeling sick so therefore not going to get tested. From my experience everyone I know who feels sick gets a Covid test, I know people who have had 9 tests since March 2020. My experience is NSW people are trained well by Glady, from a trip to Qld I did I found it's an accident waiting to happen and because they are spread out apart is the only luck it hasn't got worse for them.

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 235

Any deaths overseas of stranded Australians due to Covid or mental health issues is entirely at the hands of Scomo, Dan Andrews, Mark McGowan and all the other idiots in this country. 

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 612

Take the power of closing state borders away from the states, open a new Q Station (Manly being the old). People need to start understanding Australia being the lucky country because of the wide open spaces (4 metre rule), washing your hands, masking up. 

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