Changi Airport Emirates News

Emirates restores Singapore – Melbourne fifth freedom flights from March

Emirates is restarting its daily Singapore - Melbourne flights in March, following a three-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another “fifth freedom” route is being reinstated from Singapore Changi Airport this year, with the long-awaited return of Emirates’ Dubai – Singapore – Melbourne service now confirmed from 27th March 2023, providing an alternative to Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Scoot and Jetstar on the popular route.

Emirates withdrew its Singapore – Melbourne flights in mid-March 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak took hold and grounded almost all international services.

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The flight will now be reinstated using three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, including closed-door Suites in First Class and lie-flat beds in Business Class.

While the service will also provide a new daily Singapore – Dubai rotation, this unfortunately displaces an existing service on the route, so there will still only be three daily links to the carrier’s Middle East hub from Changi between April and October this year.

Emirates flights between Singapore and Melbourne will be reinstated using Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. (Photo: Emirates)

The schedule

From 27th March 2023, Emirates will reinstate EK404 flights from Singapore to Melbourne, while the first EK405 service will depart Melbourne for Singapore the following morning, on 28th March 2023.

The newly restored third Dubai-Melbourne service means Emirates is providing a new connectivity option between Singapore and Melbourne to serve strong demand between both cities, as well as offering customers its signature, differentiated product and service experience.

Emirates

Singapore – Melbourne operates as a daytime service, while in the reverse direction it’s an early-hours departure from Melbourne with a morning landing back at Changi.

Emirates
Singapore ⇄ Melbourne
From 27th March 2023

  Days
M T W T F S S
EK404
777-300ER
SIN
10:25
MEL

20:35
EK405*
777-300ER
MEL
03:25
SIN

08:15

* From 28th March 2023

Emirates holds “fifth freedom” traffic rights on this route, allowing it to sell tickets for passengers travelling solely between Singapore and Melbourne, in the same way it does between Bangkok and Hong Kong.

Which seats?

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)

The airline has planned its sub-fleet with 360 seats featuring the older cabin products in both the First and Business Class cabins for this Singapore – Melbourne route.

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The aircraft is laid out with:

  • 8 closed-door First Class Suites,
  • 42 Business Class lie-flat seats in a 2-3-2 configuration, and
  • 310 Economy Class seats in a 3-4-3 configuration, narrowing to 2-4-2 in the final five rows.

Here’s the seat map for this configuration, from the excellent aeroLOPA site.

The older Emirates Business Class seats will be offered on reinstated Singapore – Melbourne flights. (Photo: One Mile at a Time)

The aircraft allocation is a shame, because prior to the pandemic these Dubai – Singapore – Melbourne EK404/405 flights were using the 356-seat variant with new Business Class seats, still in a 2-3-2 configuration but sporting the latest design including a personal mini-bar.

The newer Boeing 777 Business Class featured on Emirates’ Singapore – Melbourne flights before COVID-19, but this is sadly not making a return. (Photo: Emirates)

While the aircraft also don’t have Emirates’ new “game changer” fully enclosed suites in First Class, the older First Class Suites still have closing privacy doors and oodles of personal space.

Emirates’ older Boeing 777 First Class still offer a great experience. (Photo: One Mile at a Time)

Lounges

Unfortunately the morning departure timing of this Emirates flight from Singapore to Melbourne does not allow use of the excellent Qantas Business and First lounges at Changi prior to departure, since those only open in the afternoon.

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That leaves eligible passengers with the Emirates Singapore lounge. The facility reopened in April 2022, following a two-year closure during the pandemic, and was last refurbished in 2017.

The Emirates lounge at Singapore Changi Airport was refurbished in 2017. (Photo: Emirates)

While it’s nothing super-special, especially since the fantastic Qatar Airways lounge opened next door, the Emirates lounge has runway views and whenever we used it before the pandemic, it always offered a decent food selection, plus Veuve Cliquot Champagne.

Food in the Emirates Singapore lounge was always a plus point. (Photo: Emirates)

Over in Melbourne, passengers departing on EK405 to Singapore will have the Qantas Business and First lounges to choose from, depending on their frequent flyer status and/or travel class.

The Qantas International First Lounge in Melbourne is a highlight for selected departing passengers on Emirates flights. (Photo: Qantas)

Singapore – Dubai remains at three daily

Despite adding this new EK404/405 flight from Dubai to Melbourne via Singapore and vice-versa each day, Emirates will remove one of its Dubai – Singapore – Dubai rotations to compensate, so there will still only be three daily Dubai services from Changi this summer.

Furthermore, the current twice daily A380 and once daily Boeing 777-300ER operation will be downgauged to a single A380 and two Boeing 777-300ERs each day.

Overall Emirates remains at only 64% seat capacity from Singapore this summer, compared to pre-pandemic plans, as shown in the following table.

  Emirates Daily Capacity
ex-Singapore (seats)
Originally Planned
Summer 2020
Latest Plan
Summer 2023
EK353 DXB A380: 489 B77W: 356
EK355 DXB A380: 489 A380: 458
EK405 DXB B77W: 354 B77W: 360
EK433 DXB B77W: 354
EK404 MEL B77W: 354 B77W: 360
EK348 PEN B77W: 354
Total 2,394 seats 1,534 seats

Singapore – Penang was to be a new route for the airline but never saw the light of day – an inevitable early casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Award rates

Emirates charges high fuel surcharges on its award tickets booked using Skywards miles, but the good news is the Singapore – Melbourne route is immune from these, as it was before the pandemic.

It mean’s you’ll only be hit with taxes and fees of around S$84 in each direction, the same as Singapore Airlines charges when you redeem KrisFlyer miles on its own flights on this route.

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Qantas Frequent Flyer is an alternative currency to use for Emirates award bookings, and these also benefit from no fuel surcharge on Singapore – Melbourne – Singapore legs.

Emirates Economy Class awards
Singapore – Melbourne

Economy Class
FFP Singapore

Melbourne
Singapore

Melbourne

Singapore