Emirates to stop all flights between Singapore and Brisbane from March 30, 2020

An Emirates Airlines plane approaches for landing at an airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Dec 26, 2018.
An Emirates Airlines plane approaches for landing at an airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Dec 26, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - All Emirates flight services between Singapore and Brisbane will stop from March 30 next year, in a move that is expected to reduce seats on the route by 16 per cent per week.

Singapore's competition watchdog said that it had approved Emirates' application to pull out of the route completely after it was satisfied that passengers will not be affected by the change.

"Based on the information provided by the parties...seat capacity remains adequate to meet demand," the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said on Thursday (Nov 14).

Emirates had informed CCCS of its decision in September, citing substantial losses in revenue and seat under-utilisation on its flights. The commission then conducted a public consultation from Sept 13 to 24 to seek feedback from passengers.

On Thursday, the watchdog said Emirates had provided evidence to support its claims, and that CCCS had received no feedback voicing concerns.

Three airlines currently ply the route between Singapore and Brisbane: Emirates and Australia's national carrier Qantas each operates one daily flight, while Singapore Airlines operates four every day.

 
 

Emirates and Qantas are currently in a code-share agreement, which allows them to sell seats on each other's flights. The affected Emirates flights are EK432 and EK433, which have 4,956 seats per week for both inbound and outbound flights.

A Qantas spokesman said its daily flights, QF51 and QF52 which have 4,158 seats per week, will continue to operate.

Responding to The Straits Times' queries, Emirates said on Thursday that it welcomed CCCS' ruling, and that affected passengers who have already booked their flights will be advised on re-booking options.

"Emirates apologises for any inconvenience caused. Both Singapore and Australia are important business and leisure destinations for Emirates," its spokesman said.

Those who booked their flights with Emirates or Qantas will be notified of the change by the respective airlines. Those who did so through a travel company, however, should contact the agent for assistance, Emirates' spokesman added.

When contacted, a Qantas spokesman said that customers travelling between Australia and Singapore "will continue to enjoy the benefits of the Qantas-Emirates alliance".

In its ruling, CCCS said the Qantas-Emirates alliance will not be affected, after fears in September that Emirates' latest move could upset competition restrictions.

The competition watchdog had approved the Qantas-Emirates partnership in 2013 only after they voluntarily undertook to increase seating capacity on flights from Singapore to Brisbane and Singapore to Melbourne.

Explaining its decision to allow the alliance to continue, CCCS said: "The alliance with the varied capacity commitments by Qantas and Emirates will continue to have net economic benefit on air passenger services."