Note: Emirates has extended its new First Class Suites on the Singapore route to 31st July 2020.
Some more positive news for airline schedules in and out of Singapore, as Middle East giant Emirates schedules a return to Changi from mid-June 2020, two weeks earlier than its original plan for service reinstatement to and from the Lion City.
The airline has also rostered one of its newest Boeing 777-300ERs to serve the route, featuring six of the latest fully enclosed First Class Suites, for the lucky few who will be flying until the end of June at least.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) banned transit passengers from passing through its airports back in March 2020, effectively killing off most of Emirates’ services. As a result, the airline ceased regular passenger flights on its Singapore – Melbourne route on 22nd March 2020, followed by its Singapore – Dubai route on 24th March 2020.
Like many around the world including Singapore, this week the UAE government has lifted restrictions on transit passengers. That means Emirates can now provide connecting itineraries through its Dubai hub once again, and as a result the airline has announced it will serve a total of 29 cities from the week of 15th June 2020, with Singapore on the list of 16 reinstated routes.
“Following the UAE Federal Government’s announcement to lift restrictions on transit passengers services, from 15th June Emirates will offer passenger services to 16 more cities on its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. With travel restrictions remaining in place in most countries, customers are reminded to check entry and exit requirements before their journeys.”
Emirates, 4th June 2020
Here is the list of 16 routes on which Emirates has announced service resumption from the week of 15th June 2020:
(week commencing 15 Jun)
|Bahrain||New York (JFK)|
That brings forward proposed service resumption for the carrier at Changi from 1st July 2020 by two weeks, with the first departure to Dubai now slated for 17th June 2020.
For those wishing to book connecting itineraries, Emirates is already flying to London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne from its Dubai hub, in addition to the above list.
Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad will also be added from 8th June 2020, while Manila joins the list on 11th June 2020, for a grand total of 29 cities worldwide.
Emirates will reintroduce service to and from Singapore on 17th June 2020 (ex-Dubai), with the first Singapore-Dubai service departing in the early hours of 18th June 2020.
From 18th June 2020 (EK352: 17th June 2020)
|Flight||From / To||Aircraft||Days|
|EK353||SIN0050 – DXB0415||77W||···4·67|
|EK352||DXB1025 – SIN2200||77W||··3·56·|
Which Boeing 777?
Emirates operates its 3-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in four different configurations.
- 354 seats (new First / new Business)
- 354 seats (old First / old Business)
- 356 seats (old First / new Business)
- 360 seats* (old First / old Business)
* No crew rest installed
The good news about these new services in June is that they have been planned on the 354-seat layout with the airline’s new First Class Suites installed.
This is an incredible product for those lucky enough to be travelling in First Class or managing to secure a redemption seat.
We flew in the new Emirates First Class between Geneva and Dubai when it was relatively new in 2018, and we rate it as the best Suite on the market.
These aircraft are also fitted with the airline’s latest Business Class seats, though these are in a 2-3-2 configuration with the dreaded ‘middle seat’ still an issue.
Unfortunately if you are jumping on board one of these Emirates flights in June, do be aware there are significant service cuts due to the COVID-19 situation, so you won’t be getting the true experience, with crew interaction set to ‘low’.
It’s not clear whether Emirates is planning to open its Singapore lounge when these services restart this month, however you definitely won’t be getting into the Singapore Qantas First Lounge, which is closed until further notice.
Thankfully, resumption of services from 15th June should see Emirates lounges in Dubai reopening for your time in transit.
Emirates New First Class isn’t restricted anymore
One of the most difficult aspects of redeeming Emirates’ new First Class Suites has always been that the airline held award space back for the small six-seat cabin typically until 48-72 hours before departure time, assuming there were sufficient empty seats remaining at that stage.
It appears Emirates has had a change of heart on this policy – we found plenty of dates for example in September 2020 and March 2021 where Flex First awards are available on the airline’s Dubai – London Stansted route, operated exclusively by the new Boeing 777-300ERs twice per day (unless they are secretly keeping an equipment swap to themselves).
AED 1,575 in this example is around S$600, largely because of the UK’s extortionate APD which is applied to the STN-DXB sector.
That doesn’t have to be the case though. We also found First Flex award space on Emirates’ new Boeing 777-300ERs next year to and from the like of the Seychelles (SEZ) and Geneva (GVA).
If you’re making plans for 2021, this new product could be one to lock in now in case the availability is only temporary.
Will it last?
We honestly don’t know whether Emirates’ new cabin products are set to become a permanent feature on the Singapore – Dubai route. For now this schedule is running until the end of June, then provisionally the airline reinstates daily Airbus A380 operation from 1st July 2020.
In our view it’s unlikely demand levels will justify such a large capacity aircraft by then, plus Emirates has still not brought any of its A380s back into regular service yet, so it’s more likely that Boeing 777 operation on the route will continue beyond the end of June.
If that’s the case, let’s hope it stays on one of these newer aircraft as this will then finally become the easiest way to experience the airline’s excellent new First Class product for our Singapore readers later in the year.
Deploying the product on the Singapore – Melbourne route as well when it returns later in the year would be even better, for 85,000 Skywards miles + S$62 in taxes, but that might just be asking too much!
Singapore isn’t alone in picking up the new First Class Suites from 15th-30th June 2020. We noticed some other routes are getting it too, including:
- Frankfurt (EK45)
- London Heathrow (EK1, EK4)
- New York JFK (EK201)
- Zurich (EK87)
As with the Singapore route, it’s unclear which of these cities will continue to receive the new seats from 1st July 2020.
More positive news for air travel out of Changi with Emirates scaling up to at least three weekly services, two weeks before they originally planned to.
Connecting itineraries on Emirates services are now bookable to a wide range of cities from Singapore through the carrier’s Dubai hub, including London, Chicago, New York and Manchester.
Though many travel restrictions remain in place, nationals of these countries will no doubt find this a useful new option to get home, with Singaporeans benefiting in the opposite direction.
The icing on the cake of course is an (albeit very limited) opportunity to experience the airline’s latest First Class Suite, making its Singapore debut in less than two weeks from now.
We can only hope use of these newer Boeing 777-300ERs on the route is further extended into July 2020 and beyond.
(Cover Photo: Emirates)