Emirates is set to quit its daily Singapore-Brisbane-Singapore service, arguing there is overcapacity on the route and that their tag flight to Queensland’s capital city is losing money.
Emirates sends up to three return flights a day to Brisbane out of its Dubai hub. One, EK432/433 operated by a Boeing 777-300ER goes via Singapore. This tag flight dates back to the days when Qantas teamed up with Emirates and started sending its London flights via Dubai, cutting capacity on routes like Brisbane-Singapore. To appease the regulators, Emirates stepped into the breach.
But Qantas has since quit Dubai and are now sending many more flights through Singapore. Qantas now has two return services a day between Brisbane and Singapore. Singapore Airlines has four return services a day on the route.
Whilst Emirates has a larger market share on the route than Qantas, Emirates says their Singapore-Brisbane-Singapore service is losing money. Emirates also cites overcapacity and rising costs as reasons.
It’s not as simple as simply stopping flights. Emirates has to apply to Singapore’s competition watchdog, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore. As the service is a component of the Qantas Emirates alliance and operates through Singapore, the CCCS need to give the okay to cease flights.
While permission is needed, given the changed circumstances, objections from the CCCS are not anticipated. It means the only two airlines on the Singapore-Brisbane route will be Qantas and Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines has the lion’s share of the market.
It is a small setback for burgeoning Brisbane Airport which has seen far more new flights and airlines coming in than leaving.
Emirates notes that their Singapore-Melbourne-Singapore flights are not currently under threat and the airline continues to operate many direct flights from Dubai to five Australian cities.