Qantas partner Emirates will suspend its Airbus A380 flights between Brisbane and Dubai this year.
In place of the superjumbos, the airline’s daily EK434/435 flights will be served by smaller Boeing 777-300ER jets between June 1 and August 31 2018 (June 2 to September1 departing Brisbane), which come without a shower in first class and an inflight bar and lounge area in business class, as offered on the Airbus A380.
However, passengers booked in business class will find their seat downgraded too – from a fully-flat bed in a 1-2-1 layout assuring direct aisle access for all, to an angled-flat bed in most cases, configured in a less-favourable 2-3-2 arrangement.
A handful of Emirates’ newest Boeing 777s do offer fully-flat beds in business class with an upgraded look and feel (below), yet in the same 2-3-2 layout as on the older planes: and with over 140 Boeing 777s in Emirates’ fleet, there’s no way of knowing which seat you’ll have until you step on board.
For first class flyers, the standard Boeing 777 suite is much the same as the A380, just nestled in a smaller cabin of eight first class passengers spread across two rows.
AusBT review: Emirates Boeing 777 first class
In a recent interview with Australian Business Traveller, Emirates President Sir Tim Clark tipped that Brisbane could see the airline’s new Boeing 777 first class suites in 2018, but this remains to be seen. At this point, high flyers should expect to find the older suite on board and be pleasantly surprised if something newer arrives at the gate.
Photo tour: Emirates' all-new luxury first class suite
An Emirates spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller that "this temporary decision was made as part of our routine operational review, to ensure that our capacity is currently deployed to best serve customer demand across our global network."
"Emirates remains committed to the market with 21 weekly flights, including a recently-introduced third daily flight which was added in December 2017."
From March 2018, that third-daily Brisbane-Dubai flight (EK430/431) will also swap from a Boeing 777-200LR to a Boeing 777-300ER, complementing the airline's existing Boeing 777-300ER service between Brisbane and Dubai via Singapore (EK432/433).
Emirates is the only airline to offer scheduled Airbus A380 flights at Brisbane Airport, which also wind back from late March when the carrier axes its Brisbane-Auckland Airbus A380 route.