Qantas holds off on Haneda until early 2020

Qantas is keeping its powder dry on how it will use the rights to fly to Tokyo's Haneda airport.

By David Flynn, December 11 2019
Qantas holds off on Haneda until early 2020

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.

Virgin Australia will partner with ANA as part of its push into Tokyo.
Virgin Australia will partner with ANA as part of its push into Tokyo.

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.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 370

Maybe Qantas will swap their Brisbane flight to Haneda, instead of Melbourne or additional Sydney to try and kill off the Virgin service. Announcing this late would make it too late for Virgin to change their plans. Then if Virgin pulls the plug, Qantas gets their slot for Melbourne or Sydney

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 352

Good point. I hadn't thought of that.

18 Nov 2019

Total posts 1

I think that's actually illegal because the IASC determination only allows them Melbourne or Sydney and it's also anticompetitive.

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 197

This is exactly why the ACCC and IASC Exists, and a demonstration of why Qantas should never be given all the slots and exercise extreme market dominance.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2017

Total posts 80

This is overall good news. Especially re ANA. I would much prefer JL or NH any day for J class over QF or VA. They really deliver consistent high level service and the products far exceed both QF and VA. They truly understand the value of customers and QF and VA could learn a lot from them. Whilst the news is good re QF retiring the 747 the so called updated product on the 787/ A330 is no comparison to JL or NH let alone in consistent service levels you receive from QF.

02 Mar 2013

Total posts 32

I assume they are still trying to negotiate the A380 being on the ground all day so they can keep SYD-HND as night flights in both direction and then that gives them the freedom to switch Melbourne to HND (my preferred option). I assume that rotating A380s MEL-HND-SYD-HND-MEL-HND-SYD with Melbournes on days and Sydney on nights doesn't work for scheduling or capacity reasons.

Side note, Qantas could really up their game with the sake they serve on Japan flights. The Ozeki they have is absolute trash.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 326

What was the reason QF could not fly the A380 into HND?

02 Mar 2013

Total posts 32

For whatever reason, only one A380 is allowed on the ground at a time at Haneda. The current Qantas Sydney flights have the 747 on the ground all day so they an offer night flights in both directions. If they used an A380 they'd block anyone else from using an a380 there during those times (although I'm not sure anyone does right now, Emirates Thai and Singapore all have done).

I'm guessing the 747 does very well, it's always pretty full when I've been on it and more seats to Sydney are more valuable than shifting the MEL-NRT flights. So it's a choice between adding an A330 or 787 flight, or doing something creative with an A380 to another port.

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 119

I understood the issue at Haneda was the required spacing (ie longer) between aircraft movements adjacent to a380 movements. Thus you lose capacity with a380...ironic in the sense a380 more than make up for that with with increased Pax.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1367

They maybe finalising an A380 access deal hence the delay in the announcement. They could have the A380 turn around in a couple of hours at Haneda but that would leave the less desirable daylight flight in one direction and connection issues in Sydney (too early leaving or too late arriving).

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas holds off on Haneda until early 2020