The Emirates response to declining global demand on some routes, and the selective American anti-Middle East cabin computer carry-on bans has reached Australia and New Zealand, with its daily A380s on the Sydney Auckland route being dropped from mid July.
Qantas is stepping up to the reduced capacity on its code share and alliance partner with more A330 services, but overall, it appears total capacity on the route offered by those two carriers will fall.
How or if Air New Zealand and its trans Tasman alliance partner will respond is unknown at this stage.
Also under a cloud could be the Emirates A380s between Brisbane and Melbourne and Auckland, about which there hasn’t been a murmur so far from the well plugged in New Zealand media.
Of further interest would be the fate of the non-stop A380s Emirates flies on the Auckland-Dubai route, or the Qatar Airways non-stop 777-200LRs that fly to its Doha hub, which is locked into marketing combat with Emirates on a global scale.
No-one would be more interested in that Doha versus Dubai contest than Air New Zealand, which inevitably loses some of its NZ to Europe and soon to be Little Britain customers to the Qatar and Emirates services.
Those very long haul flights sometimes exploit favourable winds to fly between the ME and NZ south of the main Australian continent. Or at other times directly over Sydney or even further north!
It would be unwise to confidently predict what else Emirates might do locally. It might decide to rough up Singapore Airlines by seeking to operate a 777 between an Australian city (Canberra springs to mind for some reason) and Wellington.
Emirates has a powerful A380 comfort franchise on the Australia-Dubai routes, where it is being challenged with token frequencies by some Etihad A380 flights, and seasonal usage of a Qatar Airways A380.
However its position has been improved by the thoughtful and generous decision by its alliance partner Qantas to drop its daily Melbourne A380 to London via Dubai for next year’s non-stop from Perth to Heathrow service in a much smaller Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. (Passengers in economy class are unlikely to be amused by being crammed into nine across 787 seating for 17 hours on the longer sector.)
In news also related to changing demand, Emirates says it will reveal a new first class product in its 777 fleet at the Dubai Air Show this November. The number of first class suites currently on offer on part of its 777 fleet will be dropped from eight to six. The Emirates statement carefully omits any mention about the long promised launch of a new first class product in its A380s, a few of which have already been converted into a two class 600 seat + configuration. The Dubai carrier has also suggested in direct terms that a premium long haul economy product is likely for its A380s and 777s.
Given that Singapore Airlines will begin flying its not fully as yet revealed new first class and long haul business class seats on its A380s very shortly we can expect Emirates will want to join in that contest, in which on Australia to Europe routes, it had the most to lose if it gets shaded by the Singaporeans who also have a superior hub airport relevant to both SE Asia and Europe.