Competition watchdog studying Emirates' application to stop Singapore-Brisbane flights

Competition watchdog studying Emirates' application to stop Singapore-Brisbane flights

An Emirates plane is seen at Lisbon's airport
File photo of an Emirates plane. (Photo: REUTERS/Rafael Marchante)

SINGAPORE: The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said on Friday (Sep 13) it is looking into an application by Emirates to stop flights between Singapore and Brisbane.

This would result in a drop of nearly 5,000 seats per week for inbound and outbound flights, or about 16 per cent of the total number of seats available on this route.

CCCS said it will conduct a public consultation from Sep 13 to Sep 24, to assess the impact of Emirates’ withdrawal on passenger and air freight services between Singapore and Brisbane, as well as other Australian routes.

The competition watchdog will look into how ticket prices and the availability of seats may be affected, and whether another airline might consider entering the Singapore-Brisbane route.

There are currently three airlines offering Singapore-Brisbane flights. Emirates and Qantas each operates one daily flight, while Singapore Airlines operates four flights daily.

EMIRATES-QANTAS ALLIANCE

Emirates cited overcapacity, declining revenues and rising costs that have resulted in substantial losses as reasons for wanting to pull out of the Singapore-Brisbane route.

However, its proposed withdrawal goes against the basis on which CCCS approved an alliance between the Dubai-based airline and Qantas in 2013.

The alliance relates to the Singapore-Brisbane and Singapore-Melbourne routes operated by Emirates and Qantas. It allows both airlines to coordinate various aspects of their flight services such as pricing, scheduling, marketing, planning, operating capacity and airport facilities.

To address competition concerns raised back then, Emirates and Qantas had agreed to increase seat capacity on those routes.

Qantas committed to 3,290 seats, while Emirates agreed to 4,956 seats per week for both inbound and outbound flights.

"Following the public consultation, CCCS will determine whether to accept or reject Emirates’ application,” said the competition watchdog.

Source: CNA/ic(gs)

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