Qantas, Virgin Australia get greenlight for new Tokyo flights

Qantas and Virgin Australia have each been granted approval for new flights to Tokyo's Haneda Airport.

By David Flynn, October 29 2019

Qantas and Virgin Australia will launch new daily flights to Tokyo's Haneda Airport by March 2020, following a decision by Australia’s International Air Services Commission (IASC) to approve the new services for a period of five years.

Virgin will open up a new Airbus A330 route between Brisbane and Tokyo/Haneda and embark on a codeshare alliance with ANA with onwards domestic connections from ANA's Haneda hub to 38 destinations across Japan, along with reciprocal frequent flyer perks such as earning Velocity points and status credits plus access to ANA lounges.

‘We’re excited that travellers will now be able to make the most of our competitive airfares, award winning service, and fabulous Virgin flair on flights to and from Japan," a Virgin Australia spokesperson tells Executive Traveller.

ANA, which already flies to Tokyo from Sydney and Perth, will add a third Australian service to its network, however the IASC says it "is not aware which Australian city ANA would operate its additional frequency to and from Haneda." The IASC's approval is contingent on the Virgin/ANA codeshare arrangement not including "parallel services on any city-pairs."

Qantas had previously applied for two routes to Tokyo/Haneda – one from Sydney, and a second from Melbourne – and while the IASC has approved one of those, Qantas has yet to advice which Australian city will be featured.

"We’ll confirm whether these flights will operate from Melbourne or Sydney shortly," a Qantas spokesperson told Executive Traveller.

A Melbourne-Tokyo/Haneda flight would replace Qantas' service to Tokyo's more distant Narita Airport.

The Sydney-Tokyo/Haneda flight would be in addition to the daily Boeing 747 service on that route and allow Qantas to retire the jumbo jet by the end of 2020 with a combination of Airbus A330s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners, as well as being a daytime flight to complement the current flight's evening departure.

David

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.

pkjames

pkjames

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2017

Total posts 49

it could well be Sydney gets another HND flight, and JAL moves its NRT-MEL to HND-MEL

Tonym

Tonym

07 Feb 2018

Total posts 16

Really disappointed Virgin was given the slot. After all Qantas has been working hard to develop the Japan route with bot Qantas and Jetstar plane, moving onto Osaka and now seasonal flights to Sapporo. It should have been rewarded with the two slots and if Virgin want to unsuccessfully disrupt another market it should have been told to start at Narita and earn the stripes for a change. It's just the Australian authorities to bag another hard working Australian brand.

nix584

nix584

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 251

I'm really pleased VA was given the slot. QF shouldn't just expect to be handed slots like this by default. And as you've said, they're already flying to NRT, HND, KIX and CTS, it's only fair to let there be some compeition from another Australian airline to Japan. And why should VA have to go to NRT first? HND is available now and it's an optimal destination.

FrequentFlyer

FrequentFlyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 212

That would be a very anti-competitive attitude and counter to the Commission's aims.

nix584

nix584

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 251

To add to the mix NH will be starting a new route to Australia too, though it won't be to BNE. I'd say MEL or ADL.

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 931

So will VA when they pull a Delta and start not operating the route as expected.

I fully expect to see them start to pull out of the route within 18 months.

dm12

dm12

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 44

Not really, VA could have flown to Narita whenever they liked. It's another attempt to compete head to head with qf and they'll continue to lose out. Whilst it might be a fair 50/50 decision by the regulator, it's another poor business strategy decision by virgin IMO. They need to position themselves in the market in a unique way, simply being Vantas will see them losing out to their bigger competitor.

Carrots

Carrots

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Oct 2017

Total posts 31

Perhaps had Qantas been more open to flights outside of Sydney and/or Melbourne then VA may have missed out. A touch less arrogance on their part may have also assisted.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 558

No it probably wouldn't have. The IASC has a remit to promote competition so, unless there was a compelling reason otherwise, they really needed to share the rights between the 2 applicants.

hutch

hutch

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1229

@Tonym - sorry this seems like very odd logic and only would result in big players getting bigger and consumers losing out through lack of competition.

Traffic rights shouldn't be given out based on a "first in market basis". They should be given out based on consumer and national interest. It is undoubtedly in Australia's interest for QF to have some competition. QF as an absolute monopoly would be a disaster for air travel. Even pure QF flyers benefit from Virgin getting stronger in order to keep QF honest.

Tonym

Tonym

07 Feb 2018

Total posts 16

Obviously I disagree, Virgin is welcome, but should start at Narita and show it is genuine good times and tough times operator, then be rewarded. We constantly penalise Qantas whilst other countries champion their national carrier's. Virgin just isn't Australian in any way yet it seems they sucker emotion from people. Just my view

nix584

nix584

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 251

Please provide examples where QF is 'constantly penalised'. And as for VA going to HND, well slots were available and they had an opportunity to open a route there, so why shouldn't they apply for it and get awarded one? Also VA are partnering with NH, HND is NH's hub so that makes sense. There's absolutely no reason that QF should have been given an extra two HND slots rather than sharing with VA.

Tonym

Tonym

07 Feb 2018

Total posts 16

Just my opinion, there's plenty of examples where Qantas gets the rough end of Aussie regulation I couldn't be bothered listing it. Reward for effort is my point here, there has been no effort from the typically lazy Virgin people. Who'd expect a beginner to begin at the beginning in this day and age of entitlement.........

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 931

NH *also* has hubs at NRT, KIX and ITM. No reason that VA *has* to operate to HND.

nix584

nix584

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 251

ITM is domestic only. A slot was available any HND and VA obviously thought that was the best option for them if they were to fly to Japan. It's a smart move.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 558

Qantas is no longer the national carrier; it hasn't been since it was privatised. It enthusiastically accepted the benefits that came with privatisation particularly as it received all the legacy benefits of having been the flag carrier.

DownSouth

DownSouth

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 106

Excellent result, well done Virgin, this will be a fantastic result for the FF's with the 38 onwards connections in Japan from BNE/MEL/SYD/PER with VA/ANA to Haneda.

oldfolky

oldfolky

02 Mar 2013

Total posts 30

I'll be disappointed if we don't get a MEL-HND flight out of this. NRT is fine for trips to Tokyo but for connections elsewhere in Japan it is terrible.

LoveToFly

LoveToFly

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2012

Total posts 169

Really hope it's mel - hnd. For both ease of getting to Tokyo and onward US routes Haneda is so much better. Did jal mel-sfo recently and had to take a long bus transfer to HND from Narita. One that even though I was in business I had to pay for myself. Anyhow that's my 5 cents

DanV

DanV

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 127

Even in the case of QF using the slot to make SYD-HND double daily, there's a good chance of NH going MEL-HND with their slot (with VA codeshare).

oldfolky

oldfolky

02 Mar 2013

Total posts 30

MEL-HND on NH with no equivalent one world flight would make me seriously reconsider my qantas loyalty.

dm12

dm12

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 44

So what do people think QF will announce and when? My money would be on a second daily SYD flight from HND on a 787 (so premium econ available on all flights).

The competitor in me would love to see them go head to head with VA to BNE, but I don' think that's the right move strategically. So MEL would be my second bet.


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