The move comes as Australia tightens its border restrictions, once again…

It just got even harder for the tens of thousands of Australians currently stranded around the world to return home, with the news that Emirates and Etihad will suspend all commercial flights to Melbourne.

The move comes as Victorian authorities declared Greater Melbourne, including Melbourne Airport, to be a coronavirus hotspot. In recent days there has been a rise in cases following breaches in the hotel quarantine system, in particular at the Holiday Inn quarantine hotel at Melbourne Airport.

In response, Emirates and Etihad Airways have decided to suspend all commercial flights into Melbourne from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Emirates flights to Melbourne, suspended until late March

Emirates is yet to update its website to reflect the suspensions, but an Emirates spokesperson told The National that Emirates will halt passenger flights from Dubai to Melbourne from Tuesday. The flights will be suspended until March 26.

The spokesperson said, “Given passenger allocation restrictions on flights to Australia, the suspension will remain in place until March 26, 2021. During this time, flight EK408 will operate as a cargo-only service.”

“The return flight EK409 from Melbourne to Dubai will operate normally with both passenger and cargo capacity,” they said. Emirates continues to operate flights from Dubai to Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, but due to Australia’s strict arrivals caps, seats are very hard to secure.

In January, Emirates temporarily suspended flights to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, due to the onerous restrictions. The flights were reinstated one week later.

Etihad flights to Melbourne, suspended until further notice

Etihad Airways has suspended flights to Melbourne until further notice. The last flight from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne left on Saturday, February 13.

The Etihad website simply says: “From 13 February, all Etihad Airways flights to Melbourne will be suspended until further notice”. According to the website, flights from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi are still operating.

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