Emirates will reorganise its flights to Australia and New Zealand early next year in a bid to strengthen its position on the busy kangaroo route.
Right now more passengers flying between Europe and Australasia take indirect rather than direct flights. SIA via Singapore, Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong and Emirates via Dubai are popular choices because they serve many more destinations than are covered by the direct flight carriers. (See note below.)
But from next February Emirates will step up the pressure on its Asian rivals. It will offer passengers more choice, faster flights and the availability of new onboard premium products on most flights linking Dubai with Down Under.
The improvements, which take effect on February 1, see the addition of two new non-stop flights between Dubai, Brisbane and Melbourne along with faster services connecting Dubai with Auckland. It also sees the A380 superjumbo (provided there are no delivery delays from Airbus) being introduced on Emirates’ busiest flights EK412 and EK413 which link Dubai with Sydney and Auckland. (See online news July 30 for Business Traveller's review of the business class offering onboard Emirates' A380 delivery flight.)
Right now Emirates operates three flights a day between Dubai and Auckland. Two of these flights are operated by B777-300ERs which, depending on the actual aircraft, may or may not be fitted with the latest premium seating. These planes make two stops en route. Only the third flight, operated by an A340-500, is a one-stopper and is fitted with the new seats.
But from February 1, all three Dubai-Auckland services will be one stop, and the B777s will be phased out in favour of services operated by the A380 (via Sydney) and the A340-500 (via Melbourne and via Brisbane).
It means that Dubai-Auckland will take three hours less, with the existing time of 21 hours, 25 mins being cut to 18 hrs 30 mins.
That’s not all. Planes rostered for these flights will have better seating in all three classes. First class passengers are accommodated in “suites” while business class passengers can stretch out in flat bed seats.
Economy passengers aren’t neglected either. Emirates’ B777s feature dense 10-across (3-4-3) seating whereas the A340’s seating is disposed eight across (2-4-2). The A380 also has 10-across seating (3-4-3) but because it has a broader cabin (than the B777) passengers enjoy more sideways space and wider aisles.
Flights departing Dubai are timed to connect with passengers arriving off overnight flights from European ports like London Heathrow and Gatwick, Manchester, Paris CDG, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich. The return services link at Dubai with early morning departures to Europe.
Emirates’ existing flights to Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane continue as before.
Details of the new schedules:
- New daily Dubai-Melbourne flight (continuing to Auckland). Operated by A340-500.
EK406 departs Dubai 1010, arrives Melbourne 0635 the next day.
EK407 departs Melbourne 2235, arrives Dubai 0540 the next day.
- New daily Dubai-Brisbane flight (continuing to Auckland). Operated by A340-500.
EK434 departs Dubai 1020, arrives Brisbane 0635 the next day.
EK435 departs Brisbane 2030, arrives Dubai 0530 the next day.
- New one-stop Auckland timings. Note that all three flights operate closely to one another.
EK412 Dubai-Auckland departs 1000 (via Sydney) arrives Auckland 1330 the next day.
EK406 Dubai-Auckland departs 1010 (via Melbourne) arrives Auckland 1340 the next day.
EK434 Dubai-Auckland departs 1020 (via Brisbane) arrives Auckland 1415 the next day.
EK435 Auckland-Dubai departs 1815 (via Brisbane) arrives Dubai 0530 the next day.
EK413 Auckland-Dubai departs 1845 (via Sydney) arrives 0530 the next day
EK407 Auckland-Dubai departs 1850 (via Melbourne) arrives 0540 the next day.
(Note: Of the direct European carriers only British Airways and Virgin Atlantic serve Australia and then it’s only Sydney. No European carrier serves New Zealand. Australia’s Qantas serves Frankfurt and London direct from Sydney or Melbourne. Air New Zealand’s sole route from Europe is London to Auckland)
For more details go to emirates.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter