Emirates Drops Brisbane Fifth Freedom Flight

Having flagged doing so two months ago, Emirates announced yesterday that it was ending its daily fifth freedom flight between Singapore and Brisbane in March 2020, citing substantial losses on the route due to increasing costs and declining revenues.

Emirates has been steadily reducing its fifth freedom flights in the region over the past few years. It axed Kuala Lumpur – Melbourne in October 2016, Sydney / Melbourne / Brisbane – Auckland flights in March 2018, and its Sydney – Bangkok flights in May this year. But the airline maintains a pretty healthy roster of direct flights into Australian cities from Dubai.

In September 2019, Emirates said it was planning to quit the Singapore – Brisbane route. A spokesperson at the time said:

“ … overcapacity, declining revenues and rising costs have resulted in substantial losses. As a consequence of these adverse changes in market conditions and ensuing poor financial performance, it is no longer commercially feasible for Emirates to operate this route.”

Ending these flights wasn’t just a matter of saying so. Emirates had to apply to the Singaporean authorities to do so. Operating the flight was a part of the approved joint venture with Qantas with codeshare traffic rights through Singapore. Varying the agreement required Singaporean government approval.

But Singapore has given the proposal the green light and Emirates is ending its Singapore – Brisbane flights on 29 March 2019. Singapore’s Competition and Consumer Commission said:

“Emirates provided evidence to support its claims on capacity under-utilisation, falling revenues and rising costs in relation to the Singapore – Brisbane route.

Seat capacity remains adequate to meet demand for passengers whose journey terminates at Singapore or Brisbane.”

The fifth freedom flight was reasonably popular because of its bargain points redemption opportunities and decent availability. The Brisbane – Singapore flight was also a well timed daylight flight with a mid morning departure. The down flight to Brisbane wasn’t so great with a 02:30 departure from Singapore. The flight was operated using a Boeing 777-300ER. It was one of the few aircraft still flying a first class product into Brisbane but its business class product wasn’t up to modern standards, featuring angled flat seats in a 2-3-2 configuration.

It will leave Brisbane – Singapore – Brisbane been serviced by four daily Singapore Airlines flights and one daily Qantas flight

It isn’t the end of Emirates in Brisbane though. The airline will retain two daily direct services to Dubai. In the meantime, if you have some points to burn and a hankering to visit Singapore, you could do worse than have a look at the Emirates Brisbane – Singapore flight before it winds up.


Categories: Emirates Airways

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