During late December and early January, multiple outbreaks of COVID19 and one specific scare with an outbreak potentially related to the highly infectious UK strain of COVID19 meant many states within Australia reduced their international arrival flight caps. Those caps had been in place since the travel bans which were enacted at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.
The result was on January 15th, QANTAS partner, Emirates had announced that flights to Australian capital cities would be indefinitely suspended until those flight caps could be lifted again with filling flights and running them becoming increasingly challenging.
For the past seven days, Emirates has been negotiating with various stakeholders on how to bring the cost of those flights down and change operational requirements to allow for smooth operations of their customers.
“Following this engagement, we’ve made the decision to resume services with adjustments to our operations, so that we can continue serving our customers.” A spokesperson from Emirates has claimed.
This has allowed Emirates to begin resuming flights to Sydney from January 25th with Melbourne and Brisbane’s services resuming on the 26th and 28th respectively.
Social distancing requirements mean that most of those flights will run with a very limited customer cohort with only a few dozen of the 360 economy class seats being filled and a push to instead fill business and first-class seats. Visitors, however, are still not permitted inbound to Australia, only returning Australians.
That customer cohort alone though is more than enough to keep multiple airline operators running to Australia with 40,000 customers still stranded overseas. A good portion of those Australian had travelled knowing the risks and after the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic.
Seats on the flights moving forward will come at a premium with many of the first-class suits selling at $7,770 and business class selling at $5,600 to $6,900. Emirates have similarly blocked the sale of all economy seats until May but even then, prices are claimed to be as high as $4,500 depending on the route.
Those price tags presumably will remain in place until services can return to normal.