Emirates and Etihad Airways will resume connecting flights between Australia's key cities and the rest of the world after the UAE lifted its ban on transit passengers, although the country itself remains off-limits to visitors.
Etihad Airways adds flights from June 10
Etihad's new flights will offer transfers linking 20 cities in Europe and Asia via the airline's Abu Dhabi hub, with Australian flights to Sydney and Melbourne.
Connecting flights will be available to major cities across Europe including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, London Madrid, Milan, Paris and Zurich.
However, compared to the pre-pandemic schedule which saw multiple flights a day across Etihad's network, the new timetable is far more 'patchwork' in nature and requires that travellers plan their trip around the specific days when connections will be available, as illustrated by this excerpt from Etihad's Abu Dhabi transfer guide.
As a precautionary measure, all travellers are required to wear a face mask throughout their journey.
Etihad's Abu Dhabi lounges are currently closed but a spokesman tells Executive Traveller the airline is "working with the airport and relevant authorities to have them opened as soon as we can."
Emirates adds flights from June 15
Emirates will add 16 cities to its worldwide network from June 15, with the Australian roster now swelling to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth on the following schedule as advised by Emirates:
Sydney: EK415 departs Sydney at 9:10pm to reach Dubai at 5:40am the following day; the EK414 return leg departs Dubai at 2:15am, arriving into Sydney at 10:05pm.
Melbourne: EK407 departs Melbourne at 9:15pm to reach Dubai at 5:15am the following day; from June 17 the flight number will change to EK409, although timing will remain the same. The EK408 return leg departs Dubai at 2:40am, arriving into Melbourne at 9:50pm.
Brisbane: starting on June 19, EK431 will depart Brisbane at 9pm to reach Dubai at 5:10am the following day; the EK430 return leg departs Dubai at 2:45am, arriving into Brisbane at 10:35pm.
Perth: starting on June 18, EK421 will depart Perth at 10:20pm to reach Dubai at 5:20am the following day; the EK420 return leg departs Dubai at 3:00am, arriving into Perth at 5:50pm.
Flights will also take off from Dubai for Bahrain, Manchester, Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, New York JFK, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei and Hong Kong.
These come on top of existing Emirates flights to London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago and Toronto.
The airline says that "customers can book to fly between destinations in the Asia Pacific and Europe or the Americas, with a convenient connection in Dubai, as long as they meet travel and immigration entry requirements of their destination country."
Passengers on all Emirates flights will receive complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes. On arrival at Dubai, all passengers will have their temperatures checked via thermal scanners, and wearing gloves and masks is mandatory.
It's not yet known if June 15 will also see the reopening of Emirates' first class and business class lounges at Dubai.