One of the more interesting ways to get from Australia to New Zealand is on the Emirates A380. These feature the only first class cabin on the routes as well as a really nice business class.

Back in May, it was announced Emirates would stop flying between Sydney and Auckland with the A380. Instead, Qantas upgraded two of their daily flights from a Boeing 737 to an Airbus A330 to balance demand. Now, even more cuts are going to take place.

Emirates Cut Brisbane and Melbourne

From March 2018, Emirates will no longer fly the A380 from Brisbane and Melbourne to Auckland. It is not too surprising as flying a 489 seat aircraft on a flight of three hours can’t be very economical.

With this cut, the only A380 service between Australia and New Zealand will be the daily flight to Christchurch. To maintain capacity to some extent, Qantas is adding seven flights per week from Melbourne and two flights from Brisbane with some services upgraded from the Boeing 737 to the Airbus A330.

An Indicator Of Issues?

Emirates commenced flying from Dubai to Auckland non-stop well over a year ago in response to a Qatar Airways plan to do the same from Doha. To me it has always been on the cards that the services to New Zealand via Australia would eventually stop.

There is plenty of competition on the routes as well. LATAM fly daily from Auckland to Sydney as part of the service from Santiago. Air New Zealand operate multiple daily services to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and Virgin Australia are also in this market.

Through their extensive partnership, Qantas and Emirates sell each others services and anecdotal evidence from reviews of the Emirates A380 services across the Tasman indicate the aircraft were never even close to full.

Since it is reported the Gulf airlines are experiencing some economic headwinds, it is no surprise that services that are potentially loss making are curtailed where possible. It’s sensible business.

Overall Thoughts

It makes economic sense for Emirates to focus on their daily non-stop service from Dubai to Auckland. I always wondered how it made economic sense to fly Airbus A380s from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane daily to Auckland especially with so much competition on the routes.

There is still a chance for people to fly the Emirates A380 relatively cheaply by flying Sydney to Christchurch however I would think the days are numbered for this route also. Don’t be surprised if a switch to Qantas is on the cards here.

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Featured image by Quentin Douchet, Virgin image by Bernard Spragg, both via Wikimedia Commons.