Emirates stops flights to three major Australian cities

SYDNEY (AFP) – Emirates has suspended flights to Australia’s three largest cities as the country further restricts international arrivals over fears of new virus strains.

The Dubai-based carrier was one of the last to maintain routes into and out of the country’s east coast throughout most of the pandemic but on Friday evening told travellers a handful of planned flights next week would be the last.

“Due to operational reasons, Emirates flights to or from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne will be suspended until further notice,” Emirates said on its website.

The airline will still run two flights a week to Perth, but the cuts are another barrier for tens of thousands of stranded Australians still attempting to return home.

The Australian government responded by announcing more repatriation flights and said other carriers still flying services to the cities could fill the gap.

“The capacity that Emirates was able to use within the cap will be allocated to other airlines, ensuring that there are still as many tickets, as many seats available into Australia,” Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said.

Dubai-based carrier Emirates was one of the last to maintain routes into and out of the country’s east coast. PHOTO: AFP