Emirates Downgrading Several Flights To Australia

Filed Under: Emirates

In July I wrote about how Emirates announced huge network reductions for a 45 day period from mid-May until late June 2019. This is because essential runway maintenance at Dubai airport means that for that period, the airport will only operate with a single runway, rather than two runways.

Dubai is the world’s busiest dual runway airport (having taken the crown from London Heathrow), so Emirates could not possibly operate their full schedule with a single runway at their global hub in Dubai.

The network reductions were spread across a range of destinations, and Australian flights were not immune. Australia is a very important market for Emirates — they’re one of the biggest international airlines operating flight to and from Australia.

In general, the aircraft types were not changed for the 45 day reduction, but where there were multiple Emirates flights on a particular route each day, the frequency would be dropped (i.e. from three to two flights per day) or if the route was daily, the frequency may have been dropped to less than daily (i.e. perhaps down to four flights per week).

Per Airline Route, Emirates has also now announced changes to several Australian routes for the northern winter season (October 2018 to March 2019), so these are outside of/before the 45 day runway window.


Rather than the daily Boeing 777-300ER service, Emirates will instead use the smaller 777-200LR for flights to Adelaide from October 8-30, 2018, as well as February 1 through March 30, 2019. The 777-200 does not have first class, so will only be operating with business and economy.

Emirates is in the process of reconfiguring their 777-200LRs to feature a 2-2-2 configuration in business class (rather than the 2-3-2 seats on their other 777s), and Emirates have confirmed that Adelaide will receive the reconfigured 777-200LRs.

I spent the first 23 years of my life living in Adelaide with its small aviation market, and while it’s great to see Emirates service to Adelaide, I could never understand how there was any first class demand, so am surprised they flew a 777-300ER to Adelaide to begin with.

Emirates reconfigured 777-200
Emirates outdated 777-300 business class


For the period from November 2-20, 2018, and January 15 through March 30, 2019, the daily A380 service from Dubai to Melbourne (via Singapore), will be downgraded to a Boeing 777-300ER.

While both aircraft types still have first class, the 777-300ER does not feature an on board bar, or shower suites, and has a far inferior 2-3-2 angled flat business class seat, rather than the more industry standard 1-2-1 fully flat seat with direct aisle access.

Emirates A380 bar


From January 15, 2019, onwards (with no end date given), the daily Emirates A380 service from Dubai to Sydney via Bangkok (EK418/EK419), will be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, rather than an Airbus A380 EK404/EK405.

The non stop A380 services from Dubai to both Melbourne and Sydney are not changing.

Emirates A380 shower suite


Emirates will reduce flights to Perth from 14 to 11 per week for the period November 7-28, 2018, and February 2 through March 30, 2019. EK424 will not run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, with EK425 not operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

The aircraft types will not change.

Emirates A380 business class

Bottom line

Hopefully these reductions will just be for the quieter northern winter months, although I could definitely see the Adelaide downgrade being permanent but given the business seats will be improved it’s probably a net positive for Adelaide.

If you are booked on a flight that has suffered an equipment downgrade you may wish to contact Emirates to see if you can be moved to another service with the original aircraft type you booked, especially if you are in business class on a flight downgraded from an A380 to a B777.

There are no changes to Brisbane services announced at this time.

Are you booked on an Emirates flight to Australia over the next six months?

  1. While the Adelaide route is a downgrade in capacity its an upgrade for passenger comfort in business newer seats in better configuration and economy is more updated and in same configuration

  2. I spent my first 27 years in Adelaide*, and I am sure the great and the good of Adelaide sometimes patronise Emirates First class, just as a matter of style, entitlement, and to make their social competitors envious. (It’s the only city I’ve lived in where holding dinner parties was a competitive blood sport. – I know. I came 2nd.)

    Also, if my recent experience is any guide, Emirates seem happy to run their planes at aroun 75-80% capacity in Economy, and around 60% in premium classes.

    So I suppose, is this actually fleet and route efficiently driven or Dubai airport restrictions driven .

    *James, we probably share the same law school alma mater

  3. ADL being 77W is probably just a fleet utilization thing. More likely than not, they need those 2-class 77W to destinations around South Asia.

    Kina same reason why they also have (or was it *had*) A380 flights to various middle eastern destinations – it’s not like anyone can really enjoy the shower on those super short 1:20 air-time shuttles.

  4. Why is downgauging the solution to the “we don’t have enough runways” problem? Shouldn’t you just use 380s?

  5. Reading that Airline Route ‘article’ the reductions are actually quite far reaching not just to Australia. Many other routes have seen major reductions too and not just from next summer during the runaway renovations in Dubai.

    One wonders where they’ll rooster those planes or if they’ll just be sitting around in Dubai.

  6. @ Kyall – I grew up thinking Adelaide was the centre of the universe.

    It wasn’t until I lived somewhere else that I realised it wasn’t ; P

  7. @ Morgan – the loss of F class (which I’m assuming was very lightly loaded each day) but improvement in J class seating is, I guess a net positive.

  8. I’m booked in the F suites MEL-SIN-DXB-JFK in January. Disappointing it will change to 777 through to DBX. Maybe I can try to switch to the nonstop.

  9. My dad was affected by the Perth cancellation, they auto rebooked him to the night before but a very quick call had him on the next day flight instead

    Interesting that they’ve reduced capacity to Perth following the cancellation of Ethiad there – QF non-stop to London having an impact?!

  10. I’m an Adelaide native currently located in Sydney. A good friend of mine who takes EK441 at least once a month for work related travel. He often remarks that J-loads are normally high to full out of ‘rads on his mid-week flights. Being skywards platinum he often gets op-ups or invited to cash upgrade to F which, according to him is often runs at least 50%, and was completely full 2 nights ago. Now how many of those F pax are full rev paying is another matter, though I would argue there is at least some demand for F seats.

  11. I’m also Adelaide based, and have flown between ADL-DXB on 3 occasions over the past 12 months in the F cabin. On all three flights, the majority of the cabin was full (min 6 seats). F is a sad (but hopefully temporary) loss for us. Fingers crossed it comes back.

    As an aside, I was very surprised that the SYD-CHC A380 service didn’t get cut. Not sure how high demand is for that service, but I journeyed on several almost empty F cabin on EK’s AKL-MEL and AKL-SYD trans-Tasman services before they were dumped. I figure it must be only a matter of time before SYD-CHC goes the same way.

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