ANA will shift to double daily flights between Sydney and Tokyo/Haneda from March 2020, sharpening competition against Qantas and JAL on the popular route. And these really will be daily flights.
While the current NH879/NH880 flights both fly during the night, a spokesman for ANA Australia confirmed to Executive Traveller that both legs of the new service will largely take place during daylight hours.
However, the specific flight timings are not expected to be revealed until next month, with ANA advising that "reservations and ticket sales are scheduled to begin in mid-December."
ANA's move to a daytime service will see it go head to head against Japan Airlines, as JAL's daily Sydney-Tokyo flight (JL772) departs at 9.15am, although the return Tokyo-Sydney leg (JL771) is a redeye (departing at 7pm and touching down at 6.50am) and the flights use Narita rather than Haneda. Both legs of Qantas' current Sydney-Tokyo/Haneda service (QF25/QF26) run overnight.
Haneda as hub
The Star Alliance member is also relocating a dozen international flights from Tokyo's more distant Narita to the relatively downtown Haneda – among them Istanbul, Milan, Moscow and Stockholm – so that travellers can more easily connect to other parts of ANA's network, which now stands at 82 international routes alongside 118 domestic routes.
“There is growing demand to visit Japan, and ANA will increase its international service just as Haneda Airport also expands to adapt for inbound Japanese tourism," said Seiichi Takahashi, Senior Vice President of ANA. “These new routes will increase the ease and convenience for passengers flying to Japan from across the world, a significant benefit of our dual hub strategy.”
More international flights into and out of Haneda will also increase "ease and convenience" for passengers on Virgin Australia's Brisbane-Tokyo/Haneda flight, which takes wing from March 2020 and counts ANA as a newly-minted partner.
ANA's second daily Sydney-Tokyo service is expected to feature a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, where contemporary forward-facing business class seats in a 1-2-1 layout provide direct aisle access for every passenger.
And if your onward journey takes you to London or New York, keep an eye out for ANA's upgraded Boeing 777-300ER flagships sporting the airline's latest first class suites and business class seats.
ANA’s all-new Boeing 777 first class suites, christened The Suite, have been inspired by luxury Japanese hotels, with a luxury dark wood finish throughout the cabin.
Sliding doors offer privacy, while a 43-inch 4K monitor which takes up the entire wall provides a ‘personal IMAX’ experience when it comes to inflight entertainment.
Meanwhile, the business class seats – dubbed The Room – see privacy doors and, in place of a seat, a wide sofa-style bench which runs the full width of the business class compartment.
The seat folds down to a fully flat bed dressed with a bespoke seat mattress and bedding in partnership with Nishikawa.
The Room has been “inspired by modern, multifunctional Japanese living spaces”, the airline says, with several discrete areas for stowing all manner of personal items.