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.