Emirates has revealed it will be returning its Airbus A380s on services to and from Australia from 1 December, as it prepares to ramp up Australian operations following the easing of border restrictions in the coming days.
It comes as NSW and Victoria both prepare to reopen international borders on 1 November, with no quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated international arrivals, and arrival caps are lifted for fully vaccinated travellers.
From 2 November, Emirates has announced it will increase frequency on flights EK414 and EK415 connecting Sydney and its Dubai hub to daily.
Meanwhile, flights connecting Melbourne and Dubai will increase to four-weekly as EK408 and EK409, with the potential to increase flights in line with demand.
Flights to Australia will initially be performed by Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER aircraft throughout November, before the reintroduction of the Airbus A380 come 1 December.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Australia has enforced strict caps on international arrivals, which saw most foreign airlines exit Australia temporarily, or operate skeleton schedules to align with caps.
For the first time since March 2020, Emirates will be able to fly at 100 per cent capacity into the country, with 354 passengers per flight in November.
From 1 December, Emirates will fly up to 516 passengers into Sydney on its flagship A380 aircraft every day.
“We are extremely delighted to once again be able to extend our services to Australians, with the capacity and frequency that they deserve,” said Emirates divisional vice-president for Australasia Barry Brown.
“Passengers will appreciate the return to normality – for vaccinated travellers wishing to go home to Australia, this will mean no more restrictions on capacity and no quarantine on arrival into New South Wales or Victoria, ultimately allowing them to see their families sooner.”
“Starting November 1st, Australians will also be able to plan a holiday and travel internationally,” Brown said.
The airline stated it will also continue to operate into Brisbane and Perth with government-mandated arrival caps, and quarantine requirements, still in place.
“We would like to thank our customers for their loyalty as we navigated the challenges together since the start of the pandemic,” Brown added.
“We are more than ever committed to Australia, and it is especially exciting for us to add Sydney to the growing network of destinations served by our popular A380 aircraft. Our customers appreciate the spaciousness and amenities of the flagship A380 and starting in December, they will be able to experience the exceptional product when flying to or from Sydney.”
Emirates joins the growing number of airlines preparing to drastically increase operations to Australia in the coming weeks and months, as international border restrictions ease.
Singapore Airlines announced earlier this month that it too, would ramp up its flight schedule to and from Australia from 1 November, and bring its Airbus A380s back into service on select flights between Singapore and London from mid-November.
Singapore Airlines said that come November, it will reinstate all 17 weekly flights between Singapore and Sydney for fully vaccinated Australian residents and citizens.
Hawaiian Airlines has announced it will resume its five services per week between Sydney and Honolulu from 15 December, while American Airlines will reinstate its Sydney-Los Angeles route from 6 January 2022.
Closer to home, Qantas has dramatically brought forward its planned restart of flights to numerous international destinations.
The airline announced earlier this month that it will bring forward its planned return to flights from Australia to Singapore, Fiji, Johannesburg, Phuket and Bangkok, as well as introduce a brand-new direct route between Sydney and Delhi.
The airline’s new route from Sydney to Delhi will begin on 6 December 2021, with three planned return flights per week on its Airbus A330 aircraft, with capacity expected to build to daily flights on this route by the end of the year – subject to regulatory approvals from Indian authorities.
Flights from Sydney to Delhi will involve one layover in Darwin, while the Delhi to Sydney leg will be nonstop.
The route will continue until at least late March 2022, however, this could become a permanent part of Qantas’ international network, should demand require.
The airline will also begin flying Sydney to Singapore from 23 November, four weeks earlier than planned. Initially this service will be three times per week on A330 aircraft, which will ramp up to daily from 18 December.
Jetstar will also begin flying from both Melbourne and Darwin to Singapore from 16 December.
Qantas has also stated flights from Sydney to Fiji will be brought forward to 7 December 2021, 12 days earlier than previously announced. It will begin flying four return flights per week on a Boeing 737.
Meanwhile, Jetstar will resume flights to Fiji from 17 December.
Qantas will perform three return flights per week from Sydney to Johannesburg from 5 January 2022, three months earlier than scheduled on its Boeing 787 Dreamliner, as well as five return flights per week to Bangkok on its A330s from 14 January 2022, two months ahead of schedule.
The airline will also return to Phuket on 12 January 2022, over two months earlier than planned, and perform three return flights per week on its Dreamliner.