Emirates Cancels Two Daily A380 Flights To New Zealand

Filed Under: Emirates

As of March 2016, Emirates began flying between Dubai and Auckland, which is the longest flight they operate. The flight was originally flown by a 777-200LR, but as of December 2016 was upgraded to an A380.

But before Emirates ever flew nonstop from the UAE to New Zealand, they at one point even operated four daily flights to New Zealand, all of which were from Australia. Specifically, Emirates flew from:

  • Brisbane to Auckland
  • Melbourne to Auckland
  • Sydney to Auckland
  • Sydney to Christchurch

Back in the day, Auckland was the only airport in the world other than Dubai International that received three Emirates A380 arrivals within an hour every day. That’s pretty crazy, especially when you consider there wasn’t a single nonstop flight from the UAE to New Zealand.

However, things have changed a bit for Emirates. As of July of this year, Emirates discontinued their daily flight between Sydney and Auckland, given that they now operate a nonstop flight from Dubai to Auckland. However, the cuts don’t end there.

Emirates is discontinuing flights from both Brisbane and Melbourne to Auckland as of March 2018. That means Emirates’ only remaining flight between the two countries will be between Sydney and Christchurch. Per the press release:

From March 2018, Emirates will stop flying from Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland and instead focus on its non-stop Auckland-Dubai service. Emirates will retain its existing daily A380 flights from Dubai to Christchurch via Sydney, and the airline is also evaluating potential new direct services between New Zealand and Dubai.

At the same time, to provide greater choice across the Tasman, Qantas will increase the frequency of its services between the two countries, adding seven new return flights per week between Melbourne and Auckland and an extra two return services per week between Brisbane and Auckland. Some of these services will be up-gauged from a 737 to a wide-body A330.

Clearly the economics of the flight just weren’t working out, given the amount of capacity that Emirates was dumping into the market. It’s a real shame to see these routes cut, not just because more capacity means lower fares, but also because Emirates offered such a superior experience on these flights. Who wouldn’t want to fly in an Emirates first class suite and shower on a 2-3 hour flight, especially given how reasonably Emirates priced these flights?

This is only the latest change to the joint venture between Emirates and Qantas. A bit over a month ago, Qantas announced that they’ll be axing their flights from Australia to Dubai, instead routing the services through Singapore once again, as they used to do up until 2012. In the process, Emirates is increasing their frequencies to Australia to make up for the lost capacity, and the airlines will continue to codeshare on the routes.

Trying Emirates first class on a short-haul flight sure is getting tougher. In addition to these route cuts, Emirates also recently downgraded their Bangkok to Hong Kong flight to a two cabin A380, which doesn’t feature first class anymore.

Bottom line

It’s a shame to see Emirates cut these flights between Australia and New Zealand, given what a great opportunity they were to try their excellent product, not to mention how they drove down airfare in the market. However, I guess they just weren’t sustainable, and the planes can be better utilized elsewhere. Auckland Airport will be going from seeing four Emirates A380s daily earlier in the year, to seeing just one A380 per day as of March 2018.

(Tip of the hat to Geoffrey and @jmmccarthy2002)

  1. Flew AKL-BNE last month. 8 people in business and 0 in first. Had the whole back mini-cabin to myself. More cabin attendants than passengers. AKL airport has 3 huge gates for EK. BNE and MEL flights were departing same time when I was there. Gate areas were empty. EK has a large, beautiful lounge that was maybe half full. No surprise they’ve cancelled these flights.

  2. Just curious; is it possible to have a shower onboard an A380 with your gf given their, well, religious customs? If yes, do you get 10 minutes of water instead of 5?

  3. I don’t think it’s logical to fly four daily A380 to Auckland from Dubai.
    But i guess UAE carriers are finally getting some reality checks. And as soon as the A350-1000, 787-10 and 777X are in service, things are going to look different since airlines like Singapore, Cathay and even Qantas can fly longer routes nonstop.

  4. I really enjoyed taking CHC/SYD on an Emirates 777 in first with a friend. We were the only two in the cabin. The ticket was less than twice the price of the economy, which was totally worth it for the lovely experience.

  5. The recent jet fuel shortage at Auckland International Airport probably broke the camel’s back for Emirates to finally decide to cut their A380 flight to Auckland to just one per day.

  6. My name is Rajiv Asthana. I am Indian national.
    I want to write here because of the indiscriminate policies that Emirates airline is adopting.
    Why are you only weighing the hand bags of Indian and Phillipines nationals who are flying to India or Phillipines? At the time of boarding the aircraft?
    I asked the Emirates representative and he said that at the time of buying the ticket there is condition that only 7 kg is allowed as hand baggage.

    OK. Agreed. Then why don’t you do this exercise to weigh the bags of every passenger on every Emirates flight taking off from dubai?

    Why only discriminate passengers for India and Phillipines?

  7. While generally right, I think you’ve missed a few big details here about the Qantas/Emirates relationship; the fact that QF is putting extra flights on, including some A330s (route used to be near exclusively 737)… I think this is more about efficiency within the EK/QF alliance, than just straight lack of demand.

  8. Emirates announced a few weeks ago that they will be adding an additional flight to Sydney. That’s four flights—three of which are nonstop—between Sydney and Dubai every day.

  9. Not related to this post, but Lucky recently youve been posting 70% of articles about Amex- and not all of us have the card since its not widely accepted, etc.

    Would love to see more diverse articles, and on that note, howcome we never see articles from Ford (who travels a lot), Mike, Matt, Nick….? These last 3 are featured in the little box “Meet the Team” but they rarely write anything.

    Would love to see more articles from Dantorp, Travis, Tiff….even if its travel in their own state.


  10. I flew AKL-MEL recently with Emirates and was thoroughly impressed with every aspect of the flight. I did wonder about the economics though, economy was probably only 2/3rds full, and I can’t imagine the demand for business class is that high for a 4 hour flight (except for those continuing to Dubai).

    It was my first A380 flight and I guess it could be my last, the way the A380 is going. I fly on A350s regularly and they are great, but there’s something exciting about being on a plane the size of the A380.

    The sight of three A380s lined up at the AKL terminal was something to behold… I was trying to impress on my kids how big these planes are, but parked next to each other they don’t seem quite as huge.

  11. I seem to recall a few years back hearing a story – which may or may not have been true – that it was cheaper for EK to fly the A380 from SYD to AKL return than it was to park up the A380 on the tarmac at SYD airport for the day and pay SYD airport fee?

  12. Sad to see the loss of the first class option with EK, That used to be an awesome pt use. As you gained access to the QF first lounge in Sydney/Melbourne. That said shower availability used to be very hit and miss on such a short flight, with it quite often being “unavailable”. So anyone booking this for the full EK first experience could be disappointed. Still for J class the replacement QF A330 flights with the new business suite is likely better, though with less seats up front will mean less award availability.

  13. I booked MEL to AKL return on the A380 for end of this month. Both sectors are in F, ticketed as QF and it was still $900 per person less than a recent flight on a QF A330 to Perth in J!

  14. I guess we took our Australia & New Zealand tour just in time, since we flew in from Europe to Australia via Dubai, celebrated the new year in Sydney and then flew with EK to Auckland in first. I loved that “short” flight, and I am sad it’s going away. I do admit there were quite a lot of empty seats. The direct flight from Auckland to Dubai became available after I had already booked my tickets, but I managed to switch the return flight, only because I wanted to catch that “longest flight in the world” (back then). Amazing flight, and those 17 hours flew by so fast…

    @Johnny Bravo, as far as I know the shower arrangements are for ONE person only. You can shower with your GF at the same time, but in different rooms. Besides, the shower is tiny. If you really want to shower together I guess you’ll have to book The Residence!

  15. I flew for the first time in my life in July 2017 from Johannesburg,SA to Manchester,UK via Dubai with Emirates. They were professional throughout and i really enjoyed my trip. Regarding the issue of reducing flights for the abovementioned destinations, i think they got it right.

  16. Flew those routes sevl times in NZ. Few folks on the plane. Had the entire cabin to myself many times. Yes–more stewardnesses than passengers.

  17. Emirates has been quite heavily marketing the MEL-AKL flights here in Melbourne recently, specifically in premium classes. I’ve been hearing at least 2-3 radio ads per day on my way to/from work. I guess it was a last-ditch effort to try and fill seats…

  18. Before the direct flights started, I flew to Auckland from Dubai via Melbourne and back once and later via MEL east and BNE west. Economy cabin occupancy was about 75%.

    For those doing Dubai to Auckland, the stops in Australia were just a pain, especially in the initially undersized Melbourne airport where everyone had to go thru just one lane of transit security just to get straight back on the plane via an undersized gate area. Next time thru, things were much larger. Brisbane was fine.

    Trans-Tasman was already well enough served and it makes far more sense for Emirates to serve the big east coast Australia cities and Auckland with one shot flights and leave trans-Tasman to Qantas, Air NZ, etc.

  19. I have a ‘direct’ flight booked with Emirates between Dubai and Auckland in March 2018.

    When booking it was shown as direct but the tickets show a short stop of 1h 40m in Melbourne on the way out and 1h 50m in Brisbane on the return. This makes the total flight times 18h 45m and 20h respectively.

  20. EK448 and 449 is the current Emirates non-stop rotation, ignoring the recent Auckland fuel supply problems which have led to ‘direct’ flights (Qatar also does a non-stop rotation from Doha), stopping for refuelling in Oz.

  21. Just two of us flew in F over the weekend on EK407 AKL-MEL, and on other occasions I’ve had the whole cabin to myself. Business class was also only 1/3 full, and the flight attendants advised that 20 pax had been upgraded to J.

    So not at all surprising that these routes are being discontinued. But very sad, as it’s definitely the nicest way to fly over the Tasman. I’ll be hoping to get in another trip MEL-AKL before it goes.

  22. Try flying to Auckland from Brisbane/Gold Coast after March. Only the airlines oldest tiredest planes with equally older staff. A dismal service, at the same prices as emirates, to valued clients. Based on that experience no wonder Emirates is the airline of choice to Europe.

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