EMIRATES has applied to the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) to withdraw entirely from its Singapore-Brisbane route, citing declining revenues and rising costs that have resulted in "substantial losses" on the route.
In response, the competition watchdog is now inviting public feedback on Emirates' application to vary an undertaking it made following its alliance with Qantas Airways.
To address competition concerns over the Qantas and Emirates alliance, the two airlines in 2013 voluntarily undertook to maintain and under certain circumstances, increase seat capacity on the flights they operated on two overlapping routes, Singapore-Brisbane and Singapore-Melbourne.
Emirates committed to 4,956 seats per week for both inbound and outbound flights for the Singapore-Brisbane route, with Qantas committing to 3,290 seats.
Three airlines currently fly the Singapore-Brisbane route, with Emirates and Qantas each operating one daily flight, and Singapore Airlines operating four daily flights. This adds up to 42 flights in each direction per week, said CCCS.
If Emirates were to withdraw its service, there would be an approximately 16 per cent drop in the total number of seats available on the route, said CCCS.
Qantas will continue to be subject to the capacity commitments and will continue supplying at least 3,290 weekly seats irrespective of the outcome of Emirates’ application, it added.
The consultation covers what impact the proposed withdrawal by Emirates might have on ticket prices and seat availability for direct flights between Singapore and Australia, including those transiting in Brisbane; as well as the prices and capacity of air freight services between Singapore and Australia.
CCCS is also interested to find out whether another airline might consider entering the route, and any other effects, positive or negative, arising from the proposed withdrawal.
Following the public consultation, CCCS will determine whether to accept or reject Emirates' application, it said.
The public consultation will be conducted from Sept 13 onwards, with the closing date for submission set at 3pm on Sept 24. Interested parties may submit their feedback to CCCS_Feedback@cccs.gov.sg.