Emirates struggling to grow Perth market

For the past five or so years, our members have become used to the ever increasing presence of Emirates aircraft in Australia. Most capital cities have started with a service via Asia, or even a direct service from Dubai in the smaller 777s, often with onward flights to New Zealand to ensure the aircraft is kept busy. After a while, the Dubai service is upgraded to larger aircraft, such as the A380 or 773, or another service is added to the route. This week came the unusual news from Emirates, that for one city, they are actually reducing capacity!

Emirates said it would temporarily downsize one of its three daily flights from Perth, EK425/424, from a Boeing 777-300ER to a smaller 777-200LR between October and March due to the need to redeploy the larger aircraft on its expanding global network.

This came as a surprise to our members, as it had been expected that the A380 would replace the 773 service once the airport was A380 capable. Originally scheduled to be completed by March this year at the latest, speculation was rife.

I was under the impression from the press here that there were ongoing, rolling, delays in getting the terminal set up; that being the case, it’s fair to say EK may well have had a gut full of deadlines being missed, and will commit A380’s to PER once PER is A380 capable.

Clearly the changes mean they are finding it hard to fill seats on the existing services to make the route profitable, and it will be sometime before the A380 makes an appearance. To add to their woes, sister city airline Etihad starts services this month for the first time, offering a daily A330 service to Abu Dhabi. This has resulted in extra capacity on the route, and something of a price war benefiting those not only in Perth.

On recent booking experience for August Europe to Sydney return, Qantas was actually the cheapest. All selling Emirates product, all going via Perth. Obviously some capacity on the route!

Airlines chop and change capacity on a regular basis. Do you think the changes are temporary, the result of competition and a downturn in the economy? Maybe you feel they are trying to send a message to Perth Airport about being ready for the A380, their weapon of choice when it comes to winning the customers dollar? Have your say HERE.

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