Emirates suspends flights to Australia's east coast indefinitely

Emirates suspends flights to Australia's east coast indefinitely

Hundreds of Australians have been left stranded after Emirates Airline has suspended flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, indefinitely.

The airline announced the decision on Friday evening on its website, attributing it to “operational reasons”. Its last journeys from Dubai to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will fly on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

The only Emirates flights into Australia will now be twice-weekly ones into Perth from Dubai.

In a statement to the ABC, the airline said the flight suspensions were due to "operational reasons", and that it "regrets any inconvenience caused".

"Emirates remains committed to Australia and continues to operate twice weekly flights to/from Perth," the statement read.

"Affected customers should contact their travel agent or Emirates contact centre for rebooking options."

Australians overseas already faced difficulties in reaching their home country, with the intake of international arrivals slashed until February 15.

Last week international flight caps in three states — New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia — were slashed by 50 per cent until February 15 due to the threat of a new highly transmissible strain of COVID-19 from the United Kingdom.

Passengers on all incoming international flights will also need to be tested for the new strain before boarding flights, under new protocols agreed to by National Cabinet, as well as a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival. NSW is now taking 1500 arrivals a week instead of its usual 3000.

The reduction followed the leak of an especially infectious strain from hotel quarantine in Brisbane last week.

Victoria will not change as they are already operating at a lower capacity after their 2020 outbreak and South Australia will also not change its caps.

While hundreds of thousands of Australians have returned home since the start of the pandemic in March last year, more than 37,000 remain stranded overseas and seeking help.

Emirates' last flights to and from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are as follows:

  • Dubai-Melbourne — EK408/January 19
  • Melbourne-Dubai — EK409/January 20
  • Dubai-Sydney — EK414/January 18
  • Sydney-Dubai — EK415/January 19
  • Dubai-Brisbane — EK430/January 16
  • Brisbane-Dubai — EK431/January 1

The airline has said customers who already have Emirates tickets with the final destination of Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane won't be accepted for travel at their point of origin unless they're booked onto one of the above flights.