Haneda is the new hotspot for airlines, with Virgin Australia, ANA and Japan Airlines all having announced plans for flights to the resurgent 'downtown Tokyo' airport. However, Qantas has yet to declare its hand.
The airline was granted access to landing rights at Haneda as part of Japan's push to increase overall capacity ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in July 2020, with options for both Sydney and Melbourne on the table.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce tells Executive Traveller that "we have made a decision, but we aren't announcing it yet – we're going to do that in the new year."
The Sydney option would see a daytime Airbus A330 or Boeing 787 flight running between Sydney and Haneda. This would complement the existing overnight Boeing 747 service but allow Qantas to retire that jumbo, swapping it out for a smaller A330 or Boeing 787.
The Melbourne option would swap the Japanese end of the daily Melbourne-Tokyo flight from Narita to Haneda.
Rival Virgin Australia will launch a daily Airbus A330 flight between Brisbane and Haneda as of March 29, 2020 and also partner with Star Alliance member ANA for codeshare flights as well as connections to other parts of Japan, along with ANA lounge access for Velocity Frequent Flyer members.
Japan's duelling carriers ANA and JAL have both opted to use the Haneda slots to bolster their Sydney services.
ANA will shift to double daily flights between Sydney and Tokyo/Haneda from March 2020, with one service running largely in the daytime and another overnight.
Oneworld member and Qantas partner Japan Airlines will switch its current Sydney-Narita flight to Sydney-Haneda as of March 29, 2020, still using a Boeing 787-9 and with almost identical timing.
"Haneda will have a focus on travellers going to Japan, whereas Narita will act as a strategic connection hub for customers looking to travel throughout Asia," a spokesman for Japan Airlines told Executive Traveller.