Qantas looks to Haneda Airport as its new Tokyo hub

When international flights return, Qantas will make Haneda Airport its new home in Tokyo.

By Chris Chamberlin, March 9 2021
Qantas looks to Haneda Airport as its new Tokyo hub
Executive Traveller exclusive

Qantas will consolidate its Tokyo routes at Haneda Airport when international flights return later this year, at least temporarily swapping the more distant Narita Airport for Haneda's downtown convenience.

Services from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are now all scheduled to call at Haneda from October 31 2021, when the airline expects overseas travel to take off once again.

Unlike Narita – located further away from Tokyo’s hustle and bustle – Haneda’s location makes it far more convenient for business travellers and leisure flyers alike.

Qantas' 'international restart schedule' shows that once flights return, Sydney-Haneda will run daily and Melbourne-Haneda will operate four times per week, with Brisbane-Haneda served three times weekly.

Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown of international travel, the Roo’s flights from both Melbourne and Brisbane to Tokyo touched down at Narita Airport instead.

From Narita to Haneda, and back again

Melbourne-Narita was planned to become Melbourne-Haneda in late March 2020 – running daily and making use of a new slot granted to the airline – although these plans, like most other Qantas international flights, were put on hold the same month as Australia’s ‘travel ban’ came into force.

However, as international passengers return to the skies and demand comes bouncing back, Qantas may return some flights to Narita Airport, due to slot constraints at Haneda.

Qantas declined to comment on those expansion plans, although Executive Traveller understands that Brisbane would be the most likely candidate for a shuffle back to Narita, given Qantas’ newly-gained capacity at Haneda had previously been earmarked for Melbourne alone.

The airline’s low-cost arm Jetstar would also continue serving Narita Airport once flights between Australia and Japan are restored.

Even in the short term, Qantas' debut of Brisbane-Haneda flights would scupper the intentions of rival Virgin Australia to be the first airline to fly from Brisbane to downtown Tokyo.

Those plans remain on ice, given Virgin now has no long-range aircraft, having ditched its Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s as part of the downsizing by new owners Bain Capital.

Lounging at Haneda and Narita airports

Prior to COVID-19, eligible Qantas passengers departing Haneda Airport were directed to the lounges of Qantas’ Oneworld alliance partner Japan Airlines.

This will continue as flights resume, with Qantas business class guests, Qantas Club members, Gold frequent flyers and other Oneworld Sapphire cardholders directed to the JAL Sakura Lounge.

Read: Inside JAL's Sakura Lounges at Tokyo Haneda

Higher-tiered frequent flyers including Qantas Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge guests – plus Oneworld Emerald members – can access the JAL first class lounge instead.

Photos: Explore Japan Airlines' Haneda Airport first class lounge

As these lounges are not operated by Qantas, single-use Qantas lounge passes, such as provided to Silver frequent flyers or through an eligible credit card, cannot be used here.

Over at Narita Airport, Qantas continues to have its own (rather dated) lounge, and as Qantas may move some flights back to Narita, the lounge could well reopen when those routes return.

However, the space could equally be seen as an unnecessary expense for Qantas, particularly with the lounges of partners such as Japan Airlines able and ready to serve Qantas guests at Narita.

Jetstar’s flights also normally use Narita’s Terminal 3 – separate from the Terminal 2 departures area where the Qantas lounge is found – which in any case puts Qantas’ lounge out of reach to those low-cost flyers.

ET review: Qantas business class lounge, Tokyo Narita T2

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.

09 Mar 2021

Total posts 1

This is great news. Narita is way too far away! 

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1011

It isn't really. It depends on where in Tokyo you are going and which type of transport you use to get to/from the airports.

It is possible to get to the NW parts of the Tokyo 23 special wards faster from Narita then from Haneda.

Well obviously it depends on exactly where in Tokyo you are heading, that would be like saying London Heathrow is closer to much of London than London City. It's 100% true but if you're going to be in the heart of London, that inner London area, LCY generally beats LHR. I think that the majority of business travellers would be headed for the 'central' core of Tokyo compared to the north-west, which is closer to NRT.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1011

Just before the travel shutdown, there were 71 flights/week between Australia and Japan across 4 airlines, with a net increase of 14 flights and a 5th airline due to start.

Qantas had wanted both HND day slots in order to shift MEL to HND and start a 2nd SYD-HND flight.

Right now, there are 10 flights/week, all cargo. (I wish Japan Post would start shipping to Australia again.)

How long did it take Japan demand to recover after flights were downsided by the 2011 earthquake?

Is the CX lounge at HND T3 still open?

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1011

I wonder how much money QF makes out of the NRT lounge from the non oneworld airlines that contract its use.

That's a good question, and more to the point, is it enough for Qantas to keep the lounge open? I do wonder if they might decide it's just not worth it and pull down the shutters and redirect airlines to a Plaza Premium or other pay-in lounge.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 190

Japan NRT great for Transit and ANA F and C lounges great   HND does have a transit hotel   - good to see QF  flying  so if we are ever able to use LH First to NRT/HND (probably no, since A380 and the 747-8 CXLD used to use to NRT/HND) at least we dont need ANA slant beds to SYD   on the 788 or 789   

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 221

Haneda much better than Narita, but this is a big drop in Qantas seats to Japan.

Before Covid 3 flights a day to Tokyo (including a much bigger 747 with Premium Economy).  Plus other cities like Osaka (I think this is not coming back?)

However if JAL or ANA add more seats then no loss as they have a much better product.

I think it's going to take some time before Australia-Japan demand returns to pre-COVID levels, even if a quarantine-free travel bubble opens up after the Olympics in second half of the year, I just can't see everybody jumping onto flights the way they used to. Businesses have cut their travel budgets, a lot of people having lost work don't have the money for overseas holidays like they did pre-COVID. Qantas can probably keep this 'Haneda split' between Melbourne and Brisbane going until at least 2022 and by then will have petitioned to have Virgin's HND slot granted to them if they need BNE-HND to go full-time.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Feb 2021

Total posts 5

Regarding the comments on ANA slant beds on 788 and 789s, I have flown on both aircraft many times  and on 789s , it is a fully flat private style  set and generous space and 788s are usually used with flat beds  to Mexico City and regional 788s (like to DLC) are the slant /regional seats on 3 hour flights. Maybe that person was thinking of  old JL 777s but even their 789s and 773s are flat now and comfortable. 


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