Less than a week after it announced the cancellation of flights to three Australian cities, Emirates will resume passenger flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from next week.
From Monday, flights will resume to Sydney, while services will return to Melbourne from Tuesday and to Brisbane from Thursday.
Passenger flights between Dubai and Perth, as well as cargo operations to all Australian points, continue as scheduled.
Hundreds of Australians were last week left stranded after the major airline announced the cancellation on Friday night.
“We regret the inconvenience caused to our customers in the period where we had to temporarily suspend our services,” a statement distributed by the airline read.
“The pandemic has made international flying incredibly challenging, and the dynamic restrictions and requirements implemented by the different state authorities in Australia had added complexity and burden to our operations.
“This led us to temporarily suspend passenger services while we engaged with various stakeholders regarding crew protocols and other operational details.”
Emirates confirmed crew operating on Australian flights were already mandated to take a PCR coronavirus test 48 hours prior to scheduled flight departure times from Dubai.
“With the latest adjustments, these tests will be administered in their homes, and our crew will also observe self-quarantine in their homes from the moment of testing until their flight.”
“This is an added burden for our crew as individuals, for our rostering, and operating costs, and therefore this decision was made after careful review and consideration.
“We are grateful that our wonderful crew teams are very understanding and supportive, which has enabled us to quickly restart passenger services.
“The safety of our customers and colleagues is always our top priority, and as always, we work closely with the authorities and health experts in this regard.”
Aviation industry hit hard by pandemic
When Emirates announced its suspension of flights on 16 January, there were already fewer flights than normal coming into Australia due to the coronavirus-induced border closures.
Caps on the number of passengers allowed on the planes still flying in had also been reduced in order to further ease pressure on the nation’s quarantine facilities.
But the pandemic has hit operational costs of airlines hard globally and in 2020 experts predicted the aviation industry could lose 95 per cent of its workforce if borders were not opened soon.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic Australia’s major airlines Qantas and Virgin Australia employed the equivalent of 40,000 people but both airlines are now operating at about 5 per cent capacity.
If that continues into 2021, Air Intelligence aviation economist Tony Webber expects the number of employees to shrink to fewer than 2000.
During the nation’s lockdown at the start of the pandemic, Virgin Australia went into administration.
The airline was eventually bought by Bain Capital but its low-cost service Tiger Airways closed.