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Emirates Suspends Flights to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne After Passenger Caps Slashed

Emirates Suspends Flights to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne After Passenger Caps Slashed

Emirates has suspended its services between Dubai and Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne until further notice citing unspecified “operation reasons”. The decision will create an even bigger headache for the roughly 25,000 Australians who are stranded abroad and have registered their desire with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to return home.

The announcement by Emirates that it would be drastically reducing its services between Dubai and Australia for the foreseeable future came a week after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia would make it even harder for returning citizens to get home in an effort to prevent the spread of highly-transmissible new variants of the COVID-19 virus detected in the UK, South Africa and Brazil.

The Australian government has slashed the number of arrivals allowed to enter the country each week by nearly a half, spurred into action after a cleaner at a Brisbane quarantine hotel tested positive with the British variant that is up to 70 per cent more transmissible than previous variants.

Queensland will now only be allowed to accept 500 returnees a week, while New South Wales has had its cap lowered to 1,505 arrivals and Western Australia will accept just 512 returnees a week. Victoria’s cap remains unchanged because it was already relatively low and only the Northern Territory will accept higher numbers.

The lower caps will be in place until at least February 15.

Airlines were already struggling to make money on flights to and from Australia because they have to severely limit passenger capacity in order to comply with the arrival caps. Some carriers, including Qatar Airways, have prioritised Business Class ticker holders in an effort to turn a profit on its Australia flights.

Emirates has declined to confirm whether the further reduction in passenger capacity was the reason for suspending its services to Australia but a spokesperson said the country “remains an important market” for the airline.

Airlines have also had new rules imposed on crew operating flights to Australia, including mandatory testing on arrival and the need to quarantine in dedicated hotels under police guard.

Dubai ‑ Melbourne  ‑ EK408 – suspended from 19th January 19JAN

Melbourne – Dubai ‑ EK409 – suspended from 20th January

Dubai ‑ Sydney ‑ EK414 – suspended from 18th January

Sydney – Dubai ‑ EK415 – suspended from 19th January

Dubai ‑ Brisbane  ‑ EK430 – suspended from 16th January

Brisbane – Dubai ‑ EK431 – suspended from 17th January

Services to Perth remain unaffected.

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