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Emirates Introduces Fifth Freedom Flight From Singapore

An Emirates 777-300ER lines up on the runway for a test flight at Paine Field. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Zera)

Emirates announced a new fifth freedom flight which will connect Singapore and Penang, Malaysia. The new daily service is set to connect the two Southeast Asian cities on April 9, 2020. Penang will mark Emirates’ second destination in Malaysia. The airline has been serving Kuala Lumpur since 1996 and currently offers three daily flights operated by the flagship Airbus A380 from Dubai.

Dubai-based Emirates will utilize a Boeing 777-300ER on this route. The carrier is the largest operator of this aircraft variant, with 134 aircraft in five different configurations. The Penang route will feature eight first class suites, 42 seats in business class and 304 seats in the economy cabin. Flight time on the short trip between Singapore and Penang is expected to be one hour and 30 minutes.

Already a crowded space, the Penang to Singapore route currently sees approximately 16 daily flights from regional carriers. Scoot, the low-cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, JetStar Asia and Air Asia all fly this route. The other Singapore Airlines subsidiary, SilkAir, also flies this route. SilkAir is currently the only full-service regional airline operating the route.

Emirates will be the only airline offering lie-flat seats on this route. The new first class will not be available on this flight and business class will be arranged in the airline’s standard 2-3-2 configuration. 

The second most populated city in Malaysia, this will mark Penang’s second destination in the Middle East. Qatar Airways has been serving the city since Feb. 2018 using a Boeing 787-8 five times weekly. Additionally, Qatar Airways uses Penang as a stopover for the flight to Langkawi, Malaysia.

Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer at Emirates, said in a press release: “The introduction of flights to Penang will help us meet growing demand from leisure and business travellers, both to and from Malaysia. We are also pleased that the fifth freedom flights between Penang and Singapore will connect two sister cities and increase connectivity for passengers in South East Asia.”

In addition to a new option for passengers, the 777-300ER on this route will enable Emirates SkyCargo to offer up to 15 tons of cargo space. According to a press release from Emirates, the new service will offer Malaysian businesses the opportunity to increase their exports including items such as electronic products and semiconductors, laptops and other consumer products; spare parts for other industries including aviation, oil and gas as well as renewable energy. 

The airline also mentioned that frequently imported items into Malaysia include pharmaceuticals, fashion goods and perishable goods such as food items and fresh flowers. This is an area where Emirates may be seeing a big opportunity for profit. Last year, the carrier flew 23,000 tons of cargo between Dubai and Kuala Lumpur, a 17 percent increase over 2018. 

Singapore is no stranger to fifth freedom flights operated by Emirates. In addition to four daily flights to Dubai, the airline offers once-daily flights to Brisbane and Melbourne, both operating on the 777-300ER. 

For the inaugural flight between Singapore and Penang, Emirates’ lowest-priced economy ticket is $108.46. In comparison, the cheapest flight for that date, according to Google Flights, is with Air Asia at $91 and the most expensive flight is operated by JetStar Asia at $217.

Emirates Director of Greece and Albania, Khalid Al Zarooni, announced that the airline is also looking at adding a second fifth freedom flight between Athens and Chicago. American Airlines currently flies this route seasonally from its hub at O’Hare International Airport. Emirates also flies from Athens to Newark once daily. This connection is North America’s only year-round flight to Greece.

Mateen Kontoravdis


  • Mateen Kontoravdis

    Mateen has been interested in aviation from a very young age. He got his first model airplane at six and has been airplane spotting since he was nine years old. He has always had a passion for aviation and loves learning about different aspects within the industry. In addition to writing for AirlineGeeks, Mateen is also an editor for his high school’s newspaper. You can also find him on Instagram (@Plane.Photos) where he enjoys sharing his aviation photography with thousands of people everyday.

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