Emirates has announced that it will resume services to Australia following a temporary suspension.
Emirates will resume flying to Sydney on 25th January,2021, Melbourne on 27th January,2021, and Brisbane on 28th January,2021.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Dubai-based carrier last week pulled nearly 20 weekly flights to the 3 cities after state governments halved the number of international arrivals allowed and stepped up restrictions on foreign flight crew.
Australia’s borders remain closed to most travellers, apart from Australian citizens, permanent residents, and those with exemptions. As there are limited places for hotel quarantine, flights into the country are restricted to carry a dozen or so passengers at most.
“The pandemic has made international flying incredibly challenging and the dynamic restrictions and requirements implemented by the different state authorities in Australia had added complexity and burden to our operations. This led us to temporarily suspend passenger services while we engaged with various stakeholders regarding crew protocols and other operational details.”said spokesperson from Emirates to Sydney Morning Herald.
The airline said that it regretted the need to cancel flights but had no choice given the constantly changing rules in Australia.
Emirates cabin crew and pilots were already being tested for COVID-19 at least 48 hours prior to leaving Dubai, but the system will be strengthened so that staff have a test administered in their home. They will be required to remain at home in self-isolation until their flight.
“Combined with the hotel quarantine and tests on arrival in Australia, this effectively means that our crew are in a ‘bubble’ from 48 hours before their flight until they return to Dubai. This is an added burden for our crew as individuals, for our rostering, and operating costs, and therefore this decision was made after careful review and consideration. We are grateful that our wonderful crew teams are very understanding and supportive, which has enabled us to quickly restart passenger services.”added the spokesperson.
Given the situation, only a handful of carriers are operating to Australia right now. These include Emirates, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines, most of which rely heavily on cargo and premium cabin revenue to sustain the “long and thin” routes.