Emirates’ Fifth Freedom Routes – An Ultimate Guide

Emirates Porto Flights
Emirates operates a large fleet Boeing 777 aircraft. Photo: Emirates

Fifth freedom routes are those flown by airlines that do not originate in either the departure or destination country. In most cases, every Emirates flight begins or ends at its hub in Dubai. However, a fifth freedom route is outside of this and today we’ll go over the fifth freedom flights that the UAE carrier offers.

Oceania and Southeast Asia

  • Sydney-Christchurch: This service connects Australia’s largest city with the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island. This flight is operated using an Airbus A380 and is just over three hours long.
  • Melbourne-Singapore: Operated by a Boeing 777, the service is roughly seven and a half hours long and connects Australia’s second-largest city with the bustling southeast Asian financial hub of Singapore.
  • Brisbane-Singapore: Unfortunately, this service ends on 30 March and will be replaced by the next route on the list – Singapore-Penang. Until then, you can fly a Boeing 777 on this overnight (BNE-SIN), seven and a half hour flight.
  • Singapore-Penang: Beginning 9 April, this new route connects Malaysia’s second-largest city with Singapore. Only 90-minutes long, the flight is operated using a Boeing 777.
  • Bangkok-Hong Kong: Interestingly, this is one of the few routes that operate a 2-class configuration Airbus A380. This means that there is no first-class onboard. This flight is three hours long in duration.
  • Bangkok-Phnom Penh: This flight only lasts about one hour and 15 minutes according to schedules. The evening flight uses a Boeing 777.
  • Auckland-Denpasar: Connecting New Zealand’s largest city to the popular holiday destination of Bali, this flight uses the Boeing 777 and is just over nine hours long. The flight is an overnighter going from Denpasar to Auckland.
Emirates A380
Emirates uses the A380 between Auckland and Christchurch. Photo: Getty


  • Athens-Newark: This is one of Emirates’ longest fifth freedom flights at 10 hours and 45 minutes when going from Athens to Newark. The flight uses a Boeing 777 and is an overnight journey going from Newark to Athens.
  • Milan-New York: Connecting one of the world’s fashion capitals to the largest city in the United States, this service uses an Airbus 380. Flying from John F Kennedy Airport to Milan Malpensa is an overnight service that lasts about nine hours.
EK Boeing 777
Emirates operates exclusively widebody aircraft. Photo: Faisal Akram via Wikimedia Commons


  • Accra-Abidjan: This extremely short flight between Ghana’s capital and the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) lasts only one hour making it one of Emirates’ shortest flights.
  • Harare-Lusaka: Essentially just as short as Accra-Abidjan, this service connects the capital cities of Zimbabwe and Zambia with a Boeing 777.
  • Conakry-Dakar: This 90-minute long flight is a rare triangle route as it only offers service going from Conakry to Dakar but not the other way around. Connecting the capital of Guinea to the capital of Senegal, this service uses a Boeing 777.

Latin America

  • Rio de Janeiro-Santiago: This four and a half-hour-long flight connects Brazil’s second-most populous city with the capital of Chile. The service uses a Boeing 777.
  • Barcelona-Mexico City: Using a Boeing 777, this is the longest Emirates fifth freedom flight at just over 12 and a half hours (going from BCN to MEX). This is a fairly new service that just started in December 2019.
  • Rio de Janeiro-Buenos Aires: This three and a half hour journey uses a Boeing 777 and is one of two fifth freedom flights out of Rio de Janeiro.


The two routes below don’t fit as nicely into the other categories above with one being somewhat intra-European and the other operating within South Asia.

  • Larnaca-Malta: This Mediterranean flight connects the island-nation of Cyprus to the island-nation of Malta. It uses a Boeing 777 and is about two and a half hours long.
  • Malé-Colombo: This 90-minute flight uses a Boeing 777 and connects two very popular tourist and holiday destinations.
Emirates’ Fifth Freedom Routes – An Ultimate Guide
Fifth freedom routes allow travelers to try a much larger aircraft than what ‘local’ airlines might offer for shorter flights. Photo: Emirates


These routes are a great way for travelers to experience Emirates’ high-quality service without having to transfer through Dubai International Airport. It even gives passengers an opportunity to fly on the A380 where they would otherwise not have the opportunity. If you’re interested in KLM’s fifth freedom routes, we’ve made a similar list for the Dutch carrier as well.

Have you flown any of the above services? If so, let us know in the comments if you liked them – or if you’d rather go with a local carrier.

Our thanks to The Australian Frequent Flyer for compiling the full list of fifth freedom routes. As always, the aircraft and schedules are subject to change.