Emirates has announced that it will resume passenger flights to Australia’s east coast, just days after it pulled out of the routes.
The airline will restart flights to Sydney from Monday, Melbourne from Tuesday and Brisbane from Thursday while services between Dubai and Perth will continue as scheduled.
The backflip comes after the Middle-Eastern airline faced a major backlash from Australians left stranded overseas by the controversial decision.
“We regret the inconvenience caused to our customers in the period where we had to temporarily suspend our services,” an Emirates spokesperson said.
It’s believed Emirates axed the routes after the federal and state governments temporarily reduced the number of international passengers allowed into Australia in response to the mutant strains of COVID-19 running rampant overseas.
Tougher testing and quarantine rules were also imposed on flight crew.
“The pandemic has made international flying incredibly challenging, and the dynamic restrictions and requirements implemented by the different state authorities in Australia had added complexity and burden to our operations,” Emirates said.
“This led us to temporarily suspend passenger services while we engaged with various stakeholders regarding crew protocols and other operational details.”
Emirates said they had overhauled their flight crew testing procedure to ensure flight attendants and pilots would not bring the virus into Australia.
“Tests will be administered in their homes, and our crew will also observe self-quarantine in their homes from the moment of testing until their flight,” the airline explained.
“This is an added burden for our crew as individuals, for our rostering, and operating costs, and therefore this decision was made after careful review and consideration.”
“The safety of our customers and colleagues is always our top priority, and as always, we work closely with the authorities and health experts in this regard.”
Stranded Aussies Speak Out
Emirates’ resumption of routes to Australia’s East Coast will come as a major relief for Australians left stranded after the major airline announced the cancellation on Friday night.
Some of the stranded Aussies, some of whom are jobless or battling serious illness, said the move forced them into a ‘Hunger Games’-type battle to secure plane tickets home.
Read their stories here.