Dubai-based Emirates announced a shift in its operations at Singapore, with the opening of a new route to Penang while dropping flights from Singapore to Brisbane.

The new fifth-freedom flight will make a roundtrip journey between Dubai and Penang in northern Malaysia, making a stop in Singapore along the way. The daily service will be launched on April 9 using Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Penang will be Emirates' second destination in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur. On the Kuala Lumpur-Dubai route, it is the only airline for the market with three non-stop flights per day.

Emirates' new connection between Penang and Singapore will replace a current fifth-freedom route from Singapore to Brisbane, Australia that will end by the end of March. The new route is aimed at serving Malaysia's second largest city.

“Penang is a major centre for tourism, business travel, as well as medical tourism and the increased levels of inbound travel is consistent with the growth in numbers of visitors to the country,” said Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer at Emirates.

On the Penang-Singapore route, it will enter a highly competitive market served by a mix of full and low cost carriers such as AirAsia, Singapore Airlines, and Jetstar which offer multiple flights per day each direction.

While ending the flights to Singapore, Brisbane will still be served by Emirates' twice-daily non-stop services to Dubai. Emirates will also continue to serve its daily fifth-freedom flights from Singapore to Melbourne.

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