Fort Lauderdale among the destinations leaving Emirates’ network

Gulf carrier Emirates looks set to permanently suspend four long-haul routes, including halting service to one of its 12 destinations in the US.

Emirates has filed a series of additional changes to its schedule in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, with four passenger routes set to be cut from the Dubai-based airline’s network. 

As first published by Airlineroute, the planned resumption of flights to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) in the US, Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) in Argentina and Santiago de Chile (SCL) in Chile have been canceled, while Adelaide (ADL), Australia will also not return for the foreseeable future.

Emirates began nonstop service from Dubai (DXB) to FLL in December 2016, at the time becoming its 11th passenger route to the US. Flights were initially daily on board Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, before reducing to 4X-weekly.

The airline launched the route to FLL—rather than to Miami International (MIA)—because of US partner JetBlue’s strength at the airport and ability to provide onward connections to other destinations in the US, Caribbean and Latin America.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Emirates offered 2,128 weekly two-way seats between the destinations, 64 of which were in first class and 336 in business. The route was scheduled to return on Sept. 1 but now appears to have been canceled indefinitely.

However, Emirates will continue to serve the state of Florida with a 5X-weekly route to Orlando (MCO) scheduled to restart on Sept. 2. Flights will be using Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

For passengers in the Gulf seeking to access South Florida, Qatar Airways operated Doha (DOH)-MIA prior to the coronavirus outbreak, although no date has been given for its resumption.

In addition to the US cancellation, Emirates is suspending passenger service to the capitals of Argentina and Chile, which were due to be reinstated early next month.

The carrier previously flew to EZE and SCL 4X-weekly and 3X-weekly respectively, with both routes operating via Rio de Janeiro Galeao (GIG) in Brazil. Emirates began flights to Buenos Aires in January 2012 while Santiago opened in July 2018, the latter initially via Sao Paulo (GRU) before switching a year ago to GIG.

The fourth route being canceled links DXB and ADL, previously served daily using Boeing 777-200LR equipment. However, Emirates plans to maintain routes to Brisbane (BNE), Melbourne (MEL), Perth (PER) and Sydney (SYD) and will continue to serve the Adelaide market through its partnership with Qantas.

Other changes being made to Emirates’ long-haul network include the cancellation of its daily nonstop DXB-Newark (EWR) flight—although a one-stop service via Athens (ATH) will be maintained—and Boeing 777-300ERs replacing Airbus A380s on Emirates' DXB-Milan Malpensa (MXP)-New York John F Kennedy (JFK) service. 

Elsewhere, Emirates has announced it will restart A380 operations to Toronto (YYZ) starting Aug. 16, taking its resumed A380 network to six cities. The airline has so far resumed A380 flights to Amsterdam (AMS), Cairo (CAI), Paris (CDG) and London Heathrow (LHR), with Guangzhou (CAN) to start on Aug. 8.

“The Emirates A380 experience remains a favourite amongst travelers for its spacious and comfortable cabins and the airline will continue to gradually expand its deployment in line with market demand and operational approvals,” the airline said.

Emirates will has also resumed passenger services to Kuwait City (KWI) from Aug. 5 and Lisbon (LIS) will return on Aug. 16. This will take the airline’s passenger network to 70 destinations in August, more than 50% of its pre-pandemic destination network.

Photo credit: Nigel Howarth / Aviation Week