Emirates axes more trans-Tasman flights as Qantas takes over

Emirates axes more trans-Tasman flights as Qantas takes over

Emirates will axe its Melbourne-Auckland and Brisbane-Auckland fights as of 25 March 2018, handing the bulk of its trans-Tasman flying over to partner Qantas.

The Gulf carrier currently flies its flagship Airbus A380 superjumbos daily from Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland and back, and the international-grade business class seats and first class suites have proven popular with business travellers.

Qantas will fill the gap by boosting the number of flights across the pond in order to comply with the requirements of the original Qantas-Emirates alliance, which both airlines are seeking to extend to 2023.

This will include seven new return flights per week between Melbourne and Auckland and an extra two return flights per week between Brisbane and Auckland, with some of these moving from a Boeing 737 onto the larger and more comfortable Airbus A330 with its superior business class.

Read: Here is Qantas' new trans-Tasman flight schedule to Auckland

Qantas says its new trans-Tasman timetable will see flights "connect seamlessly to Qantas’ London services via Perth or Singapore" as the airline also looks to eat into the London-bound market of competitor Air New Zealand.

Emirates will retain a daily Dubai-Sydney-Christchurch Airbus A380 as its only trans-Tasman service and also reschedule its Australia flights "to create a better spread of departure times throughout the day", the airline said in a statement, aimed at improving connections at its Dubai hub.

Emirates CEO Tim Clark told Reuters that demand on its Australia-Auckland flights was reduced after the airline launched non-stop flights between Auckland and Dubai last year, leaving the superjumbo as too large an aircraft for the trans-Tasman hop.

“I guess if we had a smaller aeroplane we might not have” cancelled the New Zealand flights, Clark told Reuters. “The A380 is just too big for the market.”

Today's announcement marks the third set of trans-Tasman superjumbo flights on which Emirates has pulled the plug, following the July 2017 ditching of A380 flights between Sydney and Auckland in order to "optimise capacity on this route in line with changes in demand" on the highly-competitive route.

At the time the airline claimed it had no plans to drop the sibling Airbus A380 flights from Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland, saying that Sydney-Auckland aside, "all other Emirates Trans-Tasman services will continue to operate as normal."

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

39 Comments

  • Steven Beale

    melbtraveler

    11 Oct, 2017 02:10 pm

    :( I will miss the A380 upper deck Mel-Akl
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  • Craig Dennington

    cdinoz

    11 Oct, 2017 02:27 pm

    So QF future strategy might have the 789's replacing the 330's to Asia, and send the 330's trans-cont and trans-Tasman? Have a decent product on those two key routes, perhaps?
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  • watson374

    watson374

    11 Oct, 2017 02:35 pm

    They have 28 A330s (10 A330-300s and 18 A330-200s). These are probably coming off transcon, what with the end of the mining boom. While some B787-9s might indeed go into Asia--particularly on routes with heavy premium demand, like Tokyo-HND--one would expect the A330s to remain QF's Asia workhorse for a while longer.
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  • log0008

    log0008

    11 Oct, 2017 02:47 pm

    Definitely more a case of A332's coming off domestic ops, I heard the other day VA was planning to almost end domestic ops for A330s within 2 years.
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  • silvyvc

    silvyvc

    11 Oct, 2017 02:28 pm

    QF159 is appearing as a new flight ex Melbourne - leaving 10 45am on an A330. QF151 looks like it's being upgraded from a B738 to A330, perfect for an overnight flight. Funny enough the QF reservations team has not eliminated QF8762... which I'll miss!
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  • kiwiwings

    kiwiwings

    11 Oct, 2017 02:41 pm

    Yeah that red eye is brutal!! I swore I'd never do it again but unintentionally landed on it again a couple of weeks ago. Surprised how full that 737 was but the A330 lie flat would be strongly welcomed.
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  • watson374

    watson374

    11 Oct, 2017 03:03 pm

    The schedule is interesting--it seems sub-optimal from the MEL end, and I expected that the early morning MEL-AKL flight and late afternoon AKL-MEL would get the A330, but it makes perfect sense at the AKL end, with the early morning and early evening services getting the A330.
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  • wdeguara

    wdeguara

    11 Oct, 2017 02:32 pm

    Will be interesting to see what ensuing changes there will be for the current EK434 (DXB>BNE) and return EK435 (BNE>DXB) a380 service. Can't see Emirates wanting to keep an a380 on the ground in BNE for 14½ hours every day.
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    11 Oct, 2017 02:54 pm

    The story notes that EK will be adjusting the schedules for the Australian flights. You're quite right - they won't leave aircraft sitting on the ground in BNE, SYD and MEL all day.

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  • Blair Davies

    blaird

    11 Oct, 2017 02:34 pm

    Will be interested to see what EK does with the SYD-BKK flight times now, I wonder if it will leave earlier in the day to compete with the QF flight
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    United69

  • gordon biggs

    United69

    11 Oct, 2017 04:07 pm

    hoping EK does leave earlier to BKK..Arriving 1am is a pain. QF better timing but as a EK flyer I don't get upgrades on QF.
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  • Alex Moris

    Alex Moris

    11 Oct, 2017 02:53 pm

    No! Gawd, Anyone flew Qantas international? It’s striped back to bare minimum... everything is on request. It certainly does not compare to the inflight product offerings of Emirates who IMO is a true PREMIUM airline.
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  • Alex

    tm_smile

    11 Oct, 2017 03:04 pm

    I disagree, I think QF is still a very good premium airline, it an understated feel
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    David

  • ozzieflyer

    ozzieflyer

    11 Oct, 2017 06:09 pm

    ^ understated product
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  • Robert Greenburg

    Bob Greenberg

    12 Oct, 2017 09:31 am

    Your joking ??? I flew Sydney - Queenstown once and it was THE WORST SERVICE EVER from check in to landing. Returned Air NZ and the difference was unbelievable.
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  • aklrunway

    aklrunway

    12 Oct, 2017 01:50 pm

    *you're

    Air NZ meals are horrendous. I find the quality of the meals on Qantas immensely superior and the service on board generally on par with Air NZ, if not better
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  • eamond

    eamond

    11 Oct, 2017 03:25 pm

    As I've flown QF international a couple times, no way their service is "bare minimum" and no way EK is a "true premium airline". QF's service is just as good and friendly, and the seat is IMHO superior than EK's one. I don't think it's too bad for the back of the plane either - I personally don't notice a lot of difference between the seats, maybe the IFE a bit but that's about it.
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  • aklrunway

    aklrunway

    11 Oct, 2017 04:12 pm

    I'd fly Qantas over Emirates any day, any time
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  • Private Pilot

    Private Pilot

    11 Oct, 2017 05:13 pm

    I use both airlines' business class very often. I fly SYD-DFW on QF7 and 8 (4 times a year) and I fly SYD-DXB-BHX on EK 413/412 (3 times a year). I am gold in both airlines. What reason do you fly QANTAS over Emirates any day, any time?
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  • alenb

    alenb

    11 Oct, 2017 05:02 pm

    well said
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  • bodez

    bodez

    11 Oct, 2017 02:56 pm

    This relationship with Emirates certainly continues to be interesting.

    I wonder if PER-AKL might be next for some attention? EK 777? Though possibly too much capacity.
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  • Morgan

    Morgan

    11 Oct, 2017 03:03 pm

    Aww that's a shame - the flight times (and bigger aircrafts) between MEL and AKL on EK are perfect. Hopefully QF keep a similar schedule.
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  • Christian Ryan

    aussie-flyer

    11 Oct, 2017 03:11 pm

    It always seemed a bit overkill having the a380s going across the Tasman. Oh well - they will be missed dearly!
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  • wdeguara

    wdeguara

    11 Oct, 2017 03:24 pm

    Agree - it was kinda like taking a stretch limo down to the corner shops.....
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  • markpk

    markpk

    11 Oct, 2017 04:09 pm

    It has always been a freight run for Emirates. Pax and cabin crew were a necessary distraction...
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  • Michael Gibbons

    rowwdy

    11 Oct, 2017 05:36 pm

    As well as cheap parking!
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  • aggie57

    aggie57

    11 Oct, 2017 03:16 pm

    It was nice while it lasted.
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  • Matthew Taylor

    netgun

    11 Oct, 2017 03:43 pm

    Bugger. Glad I got to do MEL-AKL and back in J a couple of months ago. I couldn't understand the economics of it but was very happy to have the experience. It's quite special flying in the upper deck of these big birds especially in EK format. I spent most of the flight at the bar chatting to staff and a couple of other passengers.
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  • David Lupton

    davidlupton

    11 Oct, 2017 03:56 pm

    Yep the trans tasman timing westbound was ideal for the A380 bar. But i never liked going through the transit security in AUS.
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  • TheHawk

    TheHawk

    11 Oct, 2017 04:06 pm

    Shame, just about everything on Emirates was superior to Qantas - seats, food, IFE and more often than not service. Plus a good opportunity to access business and first cabins for a reasonable price.

    Qantas 737’s are pretty average, JetConnect are worse. The A330 is ok I guess, poor legroom and my issue with Qantas is it’s inconsistent crew service. Some flights are great, others are absolute shockers (usually the older, matronly types)
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  • skystar

    skystar

    11 Oct, 2017 06:27 pm

    Hawk the Qantas & Jetconnect 737s are identical apart from Nz crews on Jetconnect and the later delivered Qf 737s have the sky interior.
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  • TheHawk

    TheHawk

    11 Oct, 2017 07:46 pm

    Ok, I’ve only flown JetConnect flights 2x and they have both been the amongst the worst flights I’ve taken. Terrible service, bad food and cramped. Refused to fly them since. The QF flights I’ve taken more recently have at least had good food (3 choices) and good (Australian) crews.
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  • Chris McKellar

    krisdude

    12 Oct, 2017 08:09 am

    Jetconnect is 100% owned by Qantas and operates to Qantas mainline procedures. With Emirates retrenching from Trans Tasman flights and the introduction of A330's, you will see upgrade in services.
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  • gordon biggs

    United69

    11 Oct, 2017 04:11 pm

    Unfortunately arrived on EK418 yest from BKK and flight was full and couldn't upgrade..There service in economy was crap.waited 2 hours to get drink or food...Should only be an hour at most to get trollys thru..
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  • Private Pilot

    Private Pilot

    11 Oct, 2017 04:12 pm

    This was kind of expected, and very sad for many of us...QANTAS has been bleeding custom to Emirates since the early part of 2007 when Emirates brought their very superior A380 to these sectors.
    Now it is with great loathing that I have had to book all my future trans Tasman flights with the inferior QANTAS airline, who offers more expensive seats, on either an A330 with business class seats a cheap copy of the Emirates style and no bar...or if you want to feel REALLY ripped off, a B737...lol!!!
    Member who gave thanks

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  • Mark Billam

    billamm

    11 Oct, 2017 04:18 pm

    I did read somewhere that because of the high ground fees at Sydney Airport, it was actually more cost effective to fly the A380s over to Auckland, even partially full of passengers/cargo, than was leave them stood idle for 14 hours.

    Not sure if the article was borne in fact or pure fiction and it was a good few years back, but I could see the logic...pinch of salt was definitely required, but if true, perhaps the economics no longer stack up.
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  • watson374

    watson374

    11 Oct, 2017 04:59 pm

    I would argue that that made sense back when EK weren't flying as many frequencies into and out of Australia as they are now, so the schedule would've required parking an A380 on the East Coast for the whole day, but doesn't anymore, given they now run enough frequencies to do quick turnarounds, like the new afternoon arrival DXB-SYD forming the SYD-BKK-DXB flight.
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  • aggie57

    aggie57

    11 Oct, 2017 04:26 pm

    Shame also for Auckland airport who spent up big on gates to handle the 380’s.
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  • TheHawk

    TheHawk

    11 Oct, 2017 04:28 pm

    They still have the direct Auckland-Dubai A380’s

    But given the future of the A380 the same could be said of many airports I guess
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  • Chris McKellar

    krisdude

    12 Oct, 2017 08:11 am

    The A380 gates at AKL are also used by by SQ when they fly the summer SIN/AKL/AKL services.
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  • Chris McKellar

    krisdude

    12 Oct, 2017 08:29 am

    I doesn't suprise me that EK is pulling their Trans Tasman services except Christchurch. The A380 is expensive to operate on short haul international flights, as It was designed for long haul international flights.

    There has been speculation for some time, that EK is thinking of operating AKL/LAX and/or AKL/SFO with A380's. as part of EK 'around the world' route project. Even Air NZ is aware of it. If this does happen, it would be great for QF, as AKL/LAX is still a missing link in their Trans Pacific services especially with AA only offering season services during our summer.

    With the Amercia Cup been planned for 2023 in Auckland, the current speculation could become a reality. Watch this space.
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  • crazybenjamin

    crazybenjamin

    18 Oct, 2017 10:09 am

    If that happened, the US-based airlines would throw a tantrum.
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  • Private Pilot

    Private Pilot

    11 Oct, 2017 04:31 pm

    Stop Press!!!
    Further to my previous post, I am Gold with both QANTAS and Emirates and feel thus somewhat tied to use their services, but last week I absolutely didn't want to return on that (expensive and) noisy B737 that QANTAS offers as its direct business class replacement for the AKL-SYD EK419, so I flew Air New Zealand business....they use B787-9 with a cheerful light and airy cabin layout designed well for single travellers down the A side, and couples/families down the K side...and Air New Zealand food and service is of VERY high quality. It was an eminently more comfortable journey than my QANTAS journey.
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  • paulf

    paulf

    11 Oct, 2017 05:00 pm

    Air New Zealand business food might be good, but the economy food on a flight a couple of weeks ago (AKL-MEL) was very, very ordinary. and shows signs of significant cost cutting.

    At least I still got an ice cream, which is more than Virgin's economy meal that is no longer delivered on a tray it is so small.

    Emirates trans-Tasman economy food is still very good.
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  • Nick Keith

    NQPsych2U

    11 Oct, 2017 05:09 pm

    I've always found the quality of service and in-flight experience of AirNZ underrated. I feel they are a reasonably priced trans tas experience.

    It's disappointing that their partnership with VA has deteriorated.

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  • Rita Cavanagh

    Rita Cavanagh

    11 Oct, 2017 04:41 pm

    Just checked my flight to AKL on 30/3--changed from QF8762 on EK A380, dep 0810, to QF 153 on QF B737 800 winglets, dep 0730. So I'll have to get up half an hour earlier, glad I'm flying business class, on my way to S America, but with 4 nights in NZ
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  • sgb

    sgb

    11 Oct, 2017 04:48 pm

    Devastated...Melbourne to Auckland will never be the same.
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  • sgb

    sgb

    11 Oct, 2017 04:58 pm

    Might make my next trip to Auckland First Class instead of Business before the luxury of narrow body takes over, YUCK.
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  • alenb

    alenb

    11 Oct, 2017 05:08 pm

    bye bye NZ might as well go to townsville and fly a broom
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    Frank

  • eija

    eija

    11 Oct, 2017 05:13 pm

    David do we know date for the last AKL-MEL flight... is it 28 February 2018???
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  • Chrisor

    Chrisor

    11 Oct, 2017 05:17 pm

    Sydney Christchurch EK flights days are numbered too from what an EK flight attendant told me on the weekend. Enjoy it while it lasts.
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  • eminere

    eminere

    12 Oct, 2017 04:11 pm

    That'd be sad if true.
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  • eija

    eija

    11 Oct, 2017 05:28 pm

    David never mind I have found the last AKL-MEL flight.
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  • Michael Gibbons

    rowwdy

    11 Oct, 2017 05:38 pm

    Is it known whether these a330s will move into the Jetconnect stable?
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  • watson374

    watson374

    12 Oct, 2017 11:39 am

    There are rumblings that Jetconnect cabin crews might be put onto the A330 flights but with mainline flight crews, as per the old AKL-LAX practice (and similar to current JQi practice on some of the Asian routes like MEL-SIN). We'll see.
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  • Russjking

    Russjking

    11 Oct, 2017 06:01 pm

    All this is somewhat worrying, given the reported financial problems in the other ME airlines. I rather suspect that they grew too fast, with shiny new planes, and all those holidaymakers who wanted to come down-under have now done so.
    I see this latest news as indicating a contraction in services for the whole industry and wonder if more pain is to come.
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  • afloskar

    afloskar

    11 Oct, 2017 06:43 pm

    This really brings the new EK430 departure from BNE at 2225 into play as there is no more a 2100 departure. Hopefully the 77L is upgraded to an A380 as a result.
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  • Twonson

    Twonson

    11 Oct, 2017 06:47 pm

    What a pity, will miss the F suits across the ditch!
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  • TiakiC

    TiakiC

    11 Oct, 2017 07:20 pm

    QF123 and QF126 between Brisbane and Auckland seem to have been Upgraded from a 737 to A330-2
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  • Stefan

    Too Technical

    11 Oct, 2017 08:09 pm

    The article said these services would connect seamlessly with London services through Perth and Singapore, does that mean a Qantas AKL-PER route is coming as a daily service, year round?
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  • fresh  thoughts

    freshthoughts

    11 Oct, 2017 09:03 pm

    an AKL-PER would put Qantas on equal footing with air NZ for a one stop service from AKL to LHR. could be a game changer
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  • Margaret Street

    JalanM111

    12 Oct, 2017 01:30 am

    What am I going to do now to boost my Status Credit points with Qantas? Those sale price First flights will be sadly missed ☹
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  • Chris McKellar

    krisdude

    12 Oct, 2017 08:46 am

    I doesn't suprise me that EK is pulling their Trans Tasman services except Christchurch. The A380 is expensive to operate on short haul international flights, as It was designed for long haul international flights.

    There has been speculation for some time, that EK is thinking of operating AKL/LAX and/or AKL/SFO with A380's. as part of EK 'around the world' route project. Even Air NZ is aware of it. If this does happen, it would be great for QF, as AKL/LAX is still a missing link in their Trans Pacific services especially with AA only offering season services during our summer.

    With the Americas Cup been planned for 2023 in Auckland, the current speculation could become a reality. Watch this space.
    No member give thanks

  • aklrunway

    aklrunway

    12 Oct, 2017 01:52 pm

    Are Emirates allowed to operate AKL/LAX?
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  • eminere

    eminere

    12 Oct, 2017 04:12 pm

    Would the NZ government ever allow that?
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  • Packetman21

    Packetman21

    13 Oct, 2017 01:43 pm

    The routing would have to be DXB-AKL-LAX or DXB-LAX-AKL for it to be possible.
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  • sgb

    sgb

    12 Oct, 2017 09:09 am

    What will happen with the AKL EK Lounge?
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  • silvyvc

    silvyvc

    12 Oct, 2017 09:44 am

    I'm interested to see if QF FF will be able to access. From what we've heard, Emirates has been quite picky and has denied access to QF FF when flying in QF metal and wanting to use EK's lounges.
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  • sgb

    sgb

    12 Oct, 2017 09:13 am

    Rather puzzled why they are leaving the EK A380 SYD CHC, any suggestions, not long ago that was a 777 service and was never full.
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  • Private Pilot

    Private Pilot

    12 Oct, 2017 10:41 am

    With regard to lounge access (silvyvc's comment)...here's how I believe it works. If you're travelling on a QANTAS ticket and using an Emirates plane, you will be allowed in the Emirates lounge if your frequent flyer status with Emirates is gold or better. And the same applies in reverse. QANTAS will deny you access on an Emirates ticket unless you have QANTAS gold status.
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    18 Oct, 2017 12:22 pm

    Is there any chance that Taiwanese airline China Airlines will again operate its A330s from MEL across the Tasman sensing a better market once EK withdraws?

    I'm guessing that previously China Airlines found the TransTasman going hard because unlike Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney may not have sizeable Taiwanese migrant communities. They all love the Sunshine State!

    That's what we really need from both SYD and MEL - more airlines flying Aus - NZ - although Sydney is better off than Melbourne at this time, even with EK's impending cessation of all but SYD - CHC.
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  • Tavita Brickle

    TAVITA

    20 Oct, 2017 12:29 pm

    Sorry folks more bad news Qantas no longer flys a summer timetable from Perth non stop to Auckland.I was booked in business class and had my reservation cancelled yesterday. Qantas is now back to one international route out of Perth that is Singapore on a nasty 737-800.Perth to New Zealand is once again via the eastern states or on the other airline.Good news the new 789 is flying domestically MEL/PER
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19 Dec, 2017 03:46 am

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