Emirates suspends all flights to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane 'until further notice'

The Dubai airline cited 'operational reasons' for the change to scheduling

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER photographed on August 17, 2015 from Wolfe Air Aviation's Lear 25B.

Emirates has announced it will suspend all flights to and from three of Australia’s largest cities until further notice.

The Dubai airline said on Friday, January 15 that the change would affect all flights to and from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, citing “operational reasons” for the update in scheduling.

However, it noted that a limited number of flights would operate over the coming days. These include: Dubai ‑ Melbourne ‑ EK408/19JAN; Melbourne – Dubai ‑ EK409/20JAN; Dubai ‑ Sydney ‑ EK414/18JAN; Sydney – Dubai ‑ EK415/19JAN; Dubai ‑ Brisbane ‑ EK430/16JAN; Brisbane – Dubai ‑ EK431/17JAN.

"Customers holding tickets with final destinations Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin after the completion of the above flights,” Emirates said in a statement on its website.

“Emirates regrets any inconvenience caused. Affected customers should contact their travel agent or Emirates contact centre for rebooking options. To receive update notifications, customers are requested to ensure their contact details are correct by visiting Manage Your Booking."

Emirates will continue to operate its twice-weekly route from Dubai to Perth.

It comes after a flight cap was announced on incoming passengers in three states in the country - New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. The 50 per cent slash in arrivals will be in place until February 15, and comes in response to the new and more transmissible variant of Covid-19.

The update follows the news announced on Thursday that Emirates would be suspending all flights to and from South Africa until Thursday, January 28, again, owing to operational reasons.

"Emirates flights to/from South Africa will temporarily be suspended from Saturday, January 16 to Thursday, January 28, 2021 due to operational reasons," the largest airline in the United Arab Emirates said.

Inbound travel to South Africa for leisure and business has dropped since mid-December when the country identified a new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus, forcing countries such as England, Germany, Switzerland and several in Asia to cancel flights to and from the country.

The new variant is said to be behind a major spike in daily infections and rising deaths for the last month, with total cases currently standing at close to 1.3 million and over 35,000 deaths.

"Customers holding tickets with final destinations in South Africa from January 16 to January 28 will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin," Emirates said.

Its local partner in South Africa, Airlink, which sells airline seats provided by Emirates for local destinations, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.