Emirates suspends Brisbane Airbus A380 flights

Emirates suspends Brisbane Airbus A380 flights

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.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin (ChrisCh)

[email protected] / @ChamberlinChris

Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!


  • ramius


    12 Jan, 2018 10:48 am

    "......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."

    Translation: "Our policy of trying to destroy other airlines by deploying jets on routes that they are completely unsuited to has failed, and we are now in massive financial problems so have to act like all the real airlines in the world that don't have false economies of scale."

    Reap what you sow Emirates, the way you treat staff is disgraceful.
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  • Sanjay Prakash


    12 Jan, 2018 11:20 am

    An airline in deep trouble. Have heard this from reliable internal sources. The over expansion with A380s is surely hurting them financially.
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  • reeves35


    12 Jan, 2018 12:55 pm

    The A380 is brilliant for flights into large population centres or into airports with prohibitive slot/gate restrictions. BNE ticks neither of those boxes.
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  • Mark


    15 Jan, 2018 06:51 am

    But neither does Mel or most of the the other destinations the EK 380’s fly too, but that’s there business model.
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    15 Jan, 2018 01:24 pm

    The daily services to and from BNE-DXB on the A380 are almost always completely full in all classes. There's no problem with loads. (The AKL services are different, that's why they're all going).
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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    12 Jan, 2018 11:36 am

    I don't understand. They have increased capacity from 2 daily to 3 daily flight. So clearly the demand is there. In fact they've compensated the loss of A380 by upgrading the 772LR to 77W. It would've made more sense if they simply do 2 daily A380 if they think 3 daily with 1x A380 is too much for BNE. I would've thought the cost to have 1 extra team of crews a day would cost more than the mere fuel difference between 2x A380 and 3x 77W. In fact I suspect 3x 77W prolly burn more fuel than 2x A380.
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  • Darren


    12 Jan, 2018 12:07 pm

    I get what you are saying, but maybe having 3 x B77W at different times gives better connectivity to the entire EK network via Dubai rather than limiting it to 2 services.
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  • Dmitry Abramov


    12 Jan, 2018 06:37 pm

    It does not sound like this is purely due to insufficient demand from Brisbane.

    Judging by the fact that they are planning to return A380 back to this route in September, it is probably an effort to boost capacity on routes in Northern hemispere during busy summer season (and low season Down Under).
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  • Mark


    12 Jan, 2018 12:58 pm

    What a stupid decision. Expect changes to the timetable soon as two flight depart to Dubai within 2 hours of each other.
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  • StudiodeKadent


    12 Jan, 2018 01:31 pm

    Awww crap. I've got a DXB - BNE in early June :( I hope to god I get a plane with the new product. Either that or I'm going to have to get myself completely wasted to have even a hope of sleeping on the plane...

    At least I've still got 3 out of 4 legs on the A380. But I've never been able to get to sleep on a 777 (even in First).

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  • Nuttynorton


    12 Jan, 2018 02:52 pm

    The demand is definitely there make no mistake. The a380 out of BNE every night is packed back to DXB. There is never any Qantas point flights on this service. Having flown on the old 777 Emirates in Business Class recently I can tell you it's horrible. Avoid at all costs.
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  • Dc08


    12 Jan, 2018 03:48 pm

    They've definitely lost my business, will go via Singapore with Qantas to Europe in the futures
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  • wdeguara


    13 Jan, 2018 10:16 am

    Totally agree. The a380 was predominantly the reason why I would always choose Emirates when flying business to Europe. May be time to give those new Singapore Airlines a350's a go....
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  • Brenton Thevarakam


    12 Jan, 2018 04:11 pm

    Somewhat surprising to see no more A380s in BNE given that EK and soon QR will be flying them to PER! Hopefully a sign of things to come for us on the West Coast!
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  • Teejay Cal


    12 Jan, 2018 04:33 pm

    Maybe they are trying to turn the head of some Europe bound PAX who who may be considering QF's new 787 route?
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  • Stefan

    Too Technical

    12 Jan, 2018 05:30 pm

    Meanwhile in Perth.. One Emirates A380 service, and a Qatar A380 starting soon
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  • 7OD


    12 Jan, 2018 05:47 pm

    I heard that it was due to maintenance reasons (hence the only temporary suspension).
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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    12 Jan, 2018 06:18 pm

    Yeah, and they need to give A380 to MEL to ensure they get all A380 service. After all BNE remains the poor cousin of SYD/MEL. That fact will never change.
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  • Mark


    12 Jan, 2018 08:10 pm

    True, just like Mel is the poor cousin to Syd and that fact will never change. The other fact that will never change is the BNE international terminal is class, unlike the grab 70’s terminal of Melbourne, both domestic and international.
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  • Traveller14


    12 Jan, 2018 06:30 pm

    EK is an airline I avoid, and the photo of that Arabic 'bling' in the seven-across J class confirms my decision. Are yields higher out of MEL than BNE? Media always suggests that for most airlines yields are higher ex SYD than ex MEL.
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  • Ric OSHEA


    12 Jan, 2018 07:48 pm

    Slightly off topic.

    Flew BNE/AKL Dec 13 on EK434 and came back last night on EK435. Both flights were full (and got me an upgrade to F on the way over) yet they are canning the service in March. The alternative for my next trip across the ditch is a crappy Qantas 737. Can't understand why they would can what appears to be a money spinner which a full J class certainly is.
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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    13 Jan, 2018 10:34 am

    Switch your business to CI. Much better J product and much cheaper as well. Gotta teach them a lesson that we Brisbanites don't take substandard product.
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  • Brian Williams


    15 Jan, 2018 05:37 pm

    The EK flights from the East Coast to AKL have always had good loads from mid Dec through to about April, but they did taper off a bit after that, and the drop-off accelerated once the direct AKL-DXB service came online. I'm very sad to see them go, and being subjected to the shocking 737 services of QF and NZ. Hopefully the ACCC will take note of this downgraded service when the EK/QF alliance next comes up for renewal.
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  • tvoc81


    12 Jan, 2018 08:07 pm

    Emirates - many thanks for the downgrade from A380 to 777. I cannot wait for your sub-standard product at the same price. Now it's entirely 777 all the way from Australia to the UK with an 'hour off' for the most stressful connection in Dubai to top it all off. I specifically chose the route for the A380 and then EK does this (...no guarantees I know!). Qantas website in UK also keeps insisting I travel on EK metal even when I want to travel QF - so annoying (I don't wish to pay a 4 figure premium on QF website to fly QF metal!).
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  • smit0847


    12 Jan, 2018 08:15 pm

    Chris theres a very easy way to tell if the 777 with the new J and F seats is flying your route - it will only be if you are flying to BRU or GVA (or STN from July). They are only planning to have 4% of their fleet with the new product in the next few years so I doubt Brisbane would even make the Top 20 shortlist of destinations.
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  • afloskar


    12 Jan, 2018 10:01 pm

    Emirates have said themselves, Brisbane and Perth are on the shortlist and are expected to come in the next year or so. A bit of research probably helps next time.
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  • Chris Chamberlin


    13 Jan, 2018 08:38 am

    Some Boeing 777s have the new business class but still the 'old' first class, too.
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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    13 Jan, 2018 10:38 am

    Their "new" business class is still substandard. 2-3-2 in 2018 is just unacceptable. Even QR's "outdated" J is in 2-2-2 full flat, and that's 2 generations behind. But I guess we poor Brisbanites are the only Australian capital city that can't get QR anyway so EK might as well throw the garbage at us.
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  • Dc08


    13 Jan, 2018 12:03 pm

    Easy, just don't fly with them. Plenty of other airlines like SIA, Cathay, Qantas going to Europe with equal or better products.
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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    13 Jan, 2018 08:02 pm

    QF doesn't fly to EU from BNE. But agree SQ and CX are better options. Others that's worth considering includes EY & CI. I've flown on business studio on EY's 787 and it was one of the best J I've tried. I haven't try CI yet but reverse herringbone on their A350 is definitely way better than EK's 2-3-2.
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    15 Jan, 2018 01:28 pm

    Not on the one aircraft, no. But it's certainly possible to fly from BNE to Europe (LHR) on all QF aircraft, you just have to change planes in SYD, MEL or (soon) SIN. QF would take great issue with your statement that it doesn't fly to Europe from BNE!!!

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  • dmskerrett


    13 Jan, 2018 03:52 pm

    Yet CHC keeps the A380?! A city of around 300,000 people vs. 2m in Brisbane... hmm...
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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    13 Jan, 2018 08:08 pm

    I know. It doesn't make sense. And considering BNE also serve as the major hub for the entire SE QLD, 2.4 million in BNE metro, 600K Gold Coast, 300k Sunshine Coast and 100k Toowoomba, we are talking about a population of 3.4 million!
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  • Mel Stanley


    15 Jan, 2018 04:52 pm

    Leave our A380 alone. We have a crap selection to east coast AU, the A380 is our only saving grace.
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  • Robert Knowles


    13 Jan, 2018 09:56 pm

    I’m assuming this is being suspend due to business and first class demand, only every flying economy with emirates, I’ve flown both the 380 & 777 via Singapore. A380 economy was full that night, and 777 75% full. But business on the 777 was full.
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  • Jason Hamilton


    14 Jan, 2018 02:09 pm

    Pretty crummy really. The standard gets raised with improved business class cabins and then expectations dashed when one finds themselves in one of their older tubs! Emirates are just too big for their own boots.
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    15 Jan, 2018 01:31 pm

    It's only a downgrade of aircraft for 3 months. But that's little comfort to those who booked specifically to fly on the A380 during that time.Those people should get their bookings changed to fly QF to SYD or MEL and join the A380 there.
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  • ZT


    15 Jan, 2018 03:29 pm

    EK are good at filling flights using cheap(er) fares and active flight management. I would expect the yields have resulted in a less than satisfactory return on their (380) investment so it is moved elsewhere.
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  • maktrust


    15 Jan, 2018 04:43 pm

    horrid roll back to antiquated 2-3-2 seating in business with old style angled seating, no comfort in that at all
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  • LauraRR


    15 Jan, 2018 06:04 pm

    Am flying with EK from BNE in May, returning June. Have been loyal to them since 2007, but have been thinking about ditching them - this is the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back!
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  • Stan Klan

    Stan Klan

    15 Jan, 2018 06:29 pm

    Not surprising. Queenslanders understand that Emirates is 100% owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates which has institutionalised the oppression of women and the imprisonment of gays. I always fly via Sydney or Melbourne to ensure Qantas aircraft and fabulous staff.
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  • JOHN


    15 Jan, 2018 06:55 pm

    Nearly always the A380 flight was priced higher than the 777 flight from Brisbane, if you have paid the extra to fly on the A380 would you be entitled to a refund or change as in no way does this constitute a "last minute" change of aircraft that they always state in their t&c's. Glad I booked my flights via Sydney from the Gold Coast and didn't opt to go to Brisbane.
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  • brent


    16 Jan, 2018 08:40 am

    There are a lot of comments on this and other sites about full loads and why airlines change an aircraft type. Let it be known, that even a full load, airlines can still lose losing money. Just because the aircraft is full, does not mean they will make money. It is called yield. It is what we pay in our airfares. Sometimes the cargo underneath will help and in fact it is the cargo that generally pays its way, not the passenger fares.Most airlines flying into Australia do not make money. If it were not for their state ownership, states paying off the debt unlike in private industries, taxes,lower wages and work standards, these airlines would not be flying, or at least to the same extent as they do today.
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  • traveller90


    16 Jan, 2018 10:00 am

    As the report says, the change in aircraft type is only for a 90 day period, then the A380 returns to the BNE skies. It may be for maintenance or seasonal reasons, but it is only temporary. Come September all will be back to normal. For those not happy with the 90 day change, consider a dog leg via Sydney and depart from there or enjoy the comfort of one of the competitive airlines. It is a short term change. Yes I know and understand the handful of you flying premium classes during this period will be disadvantaged but it is not forever. When the report comes in that the changes are permanent, like the axing of the a380 on trans-Tasman services, then I can understand the concern.
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  • AussieMiner


    15 Jun, 2018 09:42 pm

    Just went to book my rotation flights from BNE to ABJ for Sep-Oct and the A380 is back on.
    Seems EK are good to their word. Now if they can only get some non hostile hosties or SQ/ET might start getting my business.

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  • Steve Schindler


    20 Jun, 2018 07:18 pm

    Am booked on EK 431 BNE -DXB in late July 2018. Is anyone aware of the 777 currently being used, have they given us the more modern of the two, or still the older model? Thanks
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24 Jun, 2018 12:08 am

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