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Emirates to end Singapore-Brisbane flights

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Without Emirates, only two airlines ply the Singapore-Brisbane route: Qantas operates one daily flight while Singapore Airlines operates four daily flights.

THE Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has approved Dubai airline Emirates’ request to stop flying its Singapore-Brisbane route.

The airline had sought to remove its entire capacity commitment of 4,956 seats per week for both inbound and outbound flights on the route, citing “substantial losses”.

This capacity commitment is part of the airline's alliance with Australia's national carrier Qantas Airways.

Qantas will continue to supply at least 3,290 seats per week for the route under its capacity commitment, despite Emirates’ withdrawal.

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The competition watchdog made its decision after conducting a public consultation in September to assess the impact on passenger and freight services if Emirates stopped the flights.

CCCS said on Thursday that Emirates had provided evidence to support its claims that it was facing under-utilised capacity, declining revenues and rising costs on the Singapore-Brisbane route.

There will still be competitive constraint on Emirates and Qantas after the former stops flying the route, CCCS noted.

Seat capacity will also remain adequate to meet demand from passengers, it added.

Without Emirates, only two airlines ply the route: Qantas operates one daily flight while Singapore Airlines operates four daily flights. This adds up to 35 flights in each direction every week, down from 42 per week when including Emirates' one daily flight.

CCCS did not receive any feedback on concerns regarding Emirates’ proposed withdrawal.

The alliance between Emirates and Qantas allows them to coordinate aspects of their flight services such as pricing, scheduling, marketing and operating capacity.

To address competition concerns over the partnership, the two carriers in 2013 voluntarily undertook to maintain and, under certain circumstances, increase seat capacity on their flights from Singapore to Melbourne and Singapore to Brisbane.

The alliance will continue to have a net economic benefit on air passenger services, even though Emirates’ capacity commitments are now varied with its withdrawal from the Singapore-Brisbane flights, CCCS said.

Separately, the total base seat capacity for the Singapore-Melbourne route for both Emirates and Qantas remains unchanged at 8,246 seats per week.