Emirates will cease flying the Brisbane-Singapore route from 30 March, 2020. This Emirates fifth-freedom route is currently operated daily as Brisbane-Singapore-Dubai using a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
Emirates will retain its daily Brisbane-Dubai direct flight, and Qantas will still fly from Brisbane to Singapore beyond 30 March 2020.
The Dubai-based airline had initially revealed its intention to withdraw from the Brisbane-Singapore route in September, claiming it was losing money. However, this required the approval of the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) because Qantas and Emirates had voluntarily agreed to increase capacity on the airlines’ overlapping routes between Australia and Singapore when the Qantas-Emirates alliance was formed in 2013. This was part of the basis on which the CCCS had approved the alliance in 2013, so Emirates needed to gain approval to reduce capacity.
The CCCS yesterday approved Emirates’ withdrawal from the Brisbane-Singapore route as Emirates had provided evidence to support its claims about the route’s lack of profitability. Additionally, the CCCS received no objections.
Emirates’ withdrawal will leave Qantas with one daily flight and Singapore Airlines with four daily services on the Brisbane-Singapore route.
Flight EK433 currently departs Brisbane at 2.45am, arriving in the lion city at 8.10am. In the other direction, EK432 leaves Singapore at 10.10am for a 7.45pm landing in Brisbane.
Emirates will continue to fly from Melbourne to Singapore. The airline also still has one fifth-freedom flight remaining across the Tasman, from Sydney to Christchurch.
Emirates used to operate many more fifth-freedom flights to Australia, but earlier this year ended flights from Sydney to Bangkok. Daily Emirates A380 flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland also ended in March 2018, with Qantas picking up some of the capacity. In the past, Emirates also flew from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur.
While Emirates has been cutting back on fifth-freedom routes in recent years, it will next month begin flying a new route from Barcelona to Mexico City. Emirates last week received final approval to operate the Mexico City route after a challenge from a Mexican judge.
If you’d like to book a seat on one of Emirates’ Brisbane-Singapore flights before 30 March 2020, there is currently no shortage of award availability using Qantas points. Many dates have at least two Classic Flight Reward seats available in Economy, Business and First Class.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: A Complete, Updated List of Fifth-Freedom Routes