By Courtney Trenwith
The Australian carrier has dropped five flights due to low demand, as Emirates continues to dominate UAE-Australia routes
Australian airline Qantas has cancelled five flights between Dubai and London, citing lower demand.
Dubai-based Emirates Airline is likely to benefit, with affected passengers offered alternative flights with either carrier. Qantas and Emirates launched an historic partnership in March last year, which saw the Australian airline relocate its hub in Singapore to Dubai.
Australia-London routes have traditionally been among the most popular for the flag carrier but shockingly high losses in recent quarters have forced it to consolidate schedules.
In August it revealed a record $2.6 billion loss in the 12 months to June 30, mostly due to its international arm.
Airline analysts have warned that Emirates surge into the Sydney market could force Qantas to partially back out of the long distance route.
Emirates now commands 60 percent of capacity on UAE-Australia routes after increasing its network and upgrading aircraft on several services to the A380. The UAE national airline Etihad (20 percent) also has overtaken Qantas, relegating it to third position with 17 percent. Virgin Australia has the last 3 percent, according to airline analysts at CAPA.
In a statement on Thursday, Qantas confirmed to Arabian Business it had cancelled its Dubai-London return flights on October 14 and 17, and November 12, 15 and 20 due to low demand.
“Like all airlines, Qantas adjusts its schedule to reflect seasonal demand,” the statement says.
“This simply means increasing during peak times and decreasing during quieter periods because it makes commercial sense. We normally have two return flights a day from Dubai to London, and for five days spread across October and November we’ll go down to one.
“On those days we’ll re-accommodate passengers on either Qantas or Emirates services.”
The connecting Melbourne-Dubai sector on these dates will not be affected.
The airline said it had changed “a number” of flights to “better reflect seasonal peaks and troughs across its international network”.