Qantas shifts Melbourne-Tokyo flights to Haneda Airport

It's goodbye Narita, hello Haneda for Melbourne-based travellers jetting to Japan.

By Chris Chamberlin, December 16 2019
Qantas shifts Melbourne-Tokyo flights to Haneda Airport

Qantas will swing its Melbourne-Tokyo flights from Narita Airport over to Haneda from late March 2020.

The daily QF79/QF80 route will make the switch from March 29 2020, joining Qantas' daily Sydney-Tokyo flights which also call at Haneda – an airport much closer to the city centre than Narita.

Passengers already booked onto Qantas' Melbourne-Narita flights will be automatically accommodated onto the new Melbourne-Haneda service, which retains the same flight numbers.

However, the airline confirms that travellers can also make "alternative arrangements" to fly into and out of Narita, such as by rerouting onto Qantas' Brisbane-Tokyo flights which continue to serve Narita, with a domestic connection to and from Melbourne.

"Japan is arguably the most in-demand place in the world to visit in 2020 and our new flights will make it even more convenient to travel there from Australia," said Qantas International CEO Tino La Spina.

"We expect the new Haneda service to be particularly popular with business travellers, who will save more than an hour of transit time in getting to the city and also starts ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics."

Eligible Qantas passengers have access to Japan Airlines' Sakura Lounges at Haneda Airport, including business class guests, Gold and Platinum frequent flyers, and Qantas Club members booked on a QF flight number.

Additionally, top-tier travellers also gain access to the Priority Lane for security screening at Haneda Airport, now available too for passengers bound for Sydney with Qantas.

Qantas partner Japan Airlines also provides daily Melbourne-Tokyo flights, but which will continue to serve Narita Airport, being JAL's home hub and providing better opportunities for onward connections within and beyond Japan.

Qantas' broader boost for Japanese flights

The news for Melbourne flyers comes on the same day that Qantas resumes its seasonal Sydney-Sapporo flights, offering travellers a non-stop service to the slopes ahead of the busy ski season in Japan.

Qantas also confirms that this seasonal route will return again next Japanese winter (Australian summer), with Sydney-Sapporo flights running from December 14 2020 through to February 27 2021.

"Sapporo has been a very popular route with our leisure travellers," La Spina adds.

"We’ve seen strong demand for the new service, particularly out of Australia, but have also doubled the industry demand from Sapporo (to Australia) since announcing in April this year."

The Qantas Group now runs more than 40 flights per week between Australia and Japan, including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Tokyo; that seasonal Sydney-Sapporo service; a year-round Sydney-Osaka flight; as well at Jetstar routes from Cairns and the Gold Coast to Tokyo Narita, plus Cairns-Osaka.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce had previously said the airline's pick for Haneda – which was between Sydney and Melbourne – wouldn't be made until early 2020, but the early call means that Melbourne-Haneda flights will go on sale today, allowing travellers to lock down the other parts of their trip.

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 155

Will be interesting to see the timings of these flights. Im booked to fly in June, we'll see how flexible they are...

17 Nov 2016

Total posts 14

MEL 1030/HND 2000

HND 2130/MEL 0900+1

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

23 May 2013

Total posts 45

With this announcement it seems even more likely they have come to an arrangement for the airport to accommodate A380 aircraft on the SYD route which gives a boost to seats on that route while also allowing the MEL swap.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 995

That isn't likely.

A380s and HND are... problematic.

Due to congestion and the spacing requirements of a "Super" aircraft, HND only allows A380 operations during the night hours. They aren't likely to let Qantas park an A380 there all day like they do with the 747.

HND T3 has 18 gates with jetbridges. Only 2 allow for duel deck boarding which airlines demand for A380 use. I had to go check the satellite images for the gates because I've never seen, in over 20 times through that terminal, a HND gate with the 3rd bridge.

08 Jul 2014

Total posts 11

I wonder if Qantas will use the freed up NRT slot for something else.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 995

NRT doesn't use slots in the way that many people think. There is a large amount of room at NRT for flights and it only gets busy during a few parts of the day.

The existing capacity at NRT is 300,000 flights/year. They are at 255,000. They are also building a 3rd runway and reducing the length of the curfew, which will increase capacity to 460,000 flights.

Australia and Japan have open skies. AU and JP carriers can fly to any international airport in the other nation at will, except HND.

Qantas doesn't "own" the slot at NRT used by the MEL flight.

Would be nice if they bring back QF21/22 and fly SYD-NRT with alternative timing to QF25/26. Maybe they could bring back the PER-NRT flight they cancelled in 2011. But they don't have to use it for anything, or if they do open a new flight, use the times currently used by QF79/80.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1259

Somewhat unexpected, but welcome. I wonder how likely it is they will keep NRT lounge open in the longer run.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 995

They kept the NRT lounge open when QF22 was the only QF operated flight using it.

QF makes money out of that lounge with other airlines contracting its use.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1259

True, but wasn't Jetstar operating from the same terminal at that time? Anyway, the lounge is aging and will require a touch up at some point in my opinion.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 61

Ermmmmm. Whatever happened to the announcement about 3days ago that this announcement would be made in 2020.... In one of the articles on this website.....

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 995

Same thing that happened to Qantas saying they would decide on an Sunrise aircraft in 2020, then stating they had picked one anyway.

01 Nov 2017

Total posts 6

Qantas isn't so SYD centric after all :)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2015

Total posts 41

HND is a no brainer IMHO. When QF25/26 shifted there many yrs ago from NRT, it was such a better connection.

Overnight into HND, and then clear customs and change terminals in a jiffy generally, and then off to CTS in my case.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2015

Total posts 41

Parking up the 74's all day at NRT was an unnecessary extra cost.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2015

Total posts 41

Does anyone know about when Project Sunset ( the cessation of the 74's in Qantas ) is happening, btw.


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