Emirates stopping all Singapore-Brisbane flights from March 30 next year

Emirates will be stopping flight services between Singapore and Brisbane from March 30, 2020.
Emirates will be stopping flight services between Singapore and Brisbane from March 30, 2020.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

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

The competition watchdog said it had approved Emirates' application to pull out of the route completely after it was satisfied that passengers would 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 yesterday.

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.

Yesterday, 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 Qantas each operates one daily flight, while Singapore Airlines operates four every day.

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

A Qantas spokesman said its daily flights, EK5051 and EK5052, which have 3,290 seats per week, will continue to operate.

Responding to The Straits Times' queries, Emirates said yesterday that it welcomed CCCS' ruling, and that affected passengers who have already booked their flights will be advised on rebooking options. "Emirates apologises for any inconvenience caused," 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 should contact the agent for assistance, the spokesman added.

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."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2019, with the headline 'Emirates stopping all S'pore-Brisbane flights from March 30 next year'. Print Edition | Subscribe