Emirates is to cut back its new Edinburgh to Dubai service weeks after they are launched next Monday. Industry sources said the reduction from a daily service to five days a week was because of poor sales.
There will be no flights on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
Passengers already booked will be offered seats on flights from Glasgow – from where Emirates flies twice a day to Dubai – or Newcastle instead.
The airline was seen as a major coup for Edinburgh Airport as it offers the biggest route network via its Dubai hub compared to other Middle Eastern carriers.
The Edinburgh link was announced after smaller rival Etihad said it was scrapping Edinburgh-Abu Dhabi flights.
Edinburgh Airport described it when the route was announced in May as “one of the world’s most renowned airlines”.
Chief executive Gordon Dewar said it would provide “daily links for international tourism and trade opportunities both inbound and outbound, and will help our growth and international standing as a world class hub”.
In a memo to the travel trade last Friday, Emirates said: “Between 28 October and 10 December, and 15 January and 30 March 2019, Emirates will operate five flights a week between Dubai and Edinburgh instead of a daily service.”
A daily service will be restored over the busier festive period.
Emirates said: “This decision was made after a recent review of our operations, which was undertaken to ensure the optimal commercial utilisation of our aircraft fleet. Airbus to draw up plans for orbiting lunar station
“Passengers with bookings on the affected flights should contact Emirates or the travel company where their original booking was made for assistance.
“Emirates apologises to our customers for any inconvenience caused.”
Ken McLeod, president of the Scottish Passenger Agents Association, said: “It was always going to be difficult for Emirates to start so quickly and in an off-season period (at least for the inbound traffic).
“Many people will have booked their winter holiday and certainly for Christmas and New Year.
“Coupled with the fact the runway closure next spring in Dubai means it was always going to be reduced during that period.
“I think all they are doing is looking at forward loads and recognising by cutting out two of the days, they can maximise the five other days and place the aircraft elsewhere.
“They intend to go back to daily from 1 June next year, so I just see it as an adjustment to demand rather than any detrimental step. “Fuel prices are rising and prices are pretty competitive at the moment.
“They need the lucrative inbound business traffic to build and that takes time ”
A Emirates spokesperson said: “Emirates will start off with a daily service to Edinburgh and will reduce flights to five times weekly from 28 October, due to seasonal adjustments.
“After the planned Dubai airport runway closure for upgrade works between 16 April and 30 May 2019, we’ll resume with a daily service to Edinburgh from 1 June 2019.”
This article first appeared on The Scotsman on 25 Sept. 2018