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.
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.
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.
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.
Singapore ⇄ Melbourne
From 27th March 2023
* 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
|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.
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.
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