Virgin Australia wants to fly to Tokyo/Haneda

Virgin Australia is putting it hat into the ring for flights to Tokyo.

By David Flynn, September 17 2019

Virgin Australia wants to begin flying to Japan and intends to bid for one of the two new routes between Australia and Tokyo/Haneda being offered to Australian airlines.

The move came hours after Qantas laid a claim to both of the Haneda openings – one for Sydney, the other for Melbourne.

Read: Qantas reveals plans for new Sydney, Melbourne flights to Tokyo/Haneda

If approved by Australia's International Air Services Commission, which is tasked with allocating the two Haneda openings, Virgin Australia would start daily flights from an as-yet-unknown Australian city in March 2020.

Where will the aircraft come from?

Virgin would most likely roster one of its six Airbus A330s to Tokyo, which would mean either closing one of its Hong Kong routes or pulling another A330 from the Sydney-Perth or Melbourne-Perth transcontinental schedule.

"Virgin Australia’s intended application for slots at Haneda Airport is extremely important to ensure there is competition in this market to bring choice and value for consumers, with lower airfares and more travel options to Japan," the airline said in a statement issued to media.

"The airline is focussed on investing in the right routes that are commercially profitable and introducing Japan to its network will benefit the business, guests and the broader tourism industry."

Virgin, ANA partnership?

With Qantas' application citing connectivity via fellow Oneworld member Japan Airlines for domestic flights across Japan, Virgin Australia will feel compelled to document its own partnership proposition – one which would likely be with JAL nemesis and Star Alliance member ANA.

ANA already flies daily from Sydney to Haneda and Perth to Narita, and has been granted a third Australian route, also from Haneda, as part of the Japanese Government's decision to open 50 extra daily slot pairings at Haneda in the lead-up to the 2020 Olympics.

This could shake out as a codeshare with ANA flying between Melbourne and Haneda while Virgin launches Brisbane-Haneda, for example.

Virgin's play is certain to be controversial, as it comes weeks after CEO Paul Scurrah announced a sweeping review to 'rightsize' the airline – including a focus on routes – having recently posted a $315 million loss for the 2018-2019 financial year, topping seven straight years of losses adding up to $1.9 billion.

Qantas' own pitch threw pre-emptive shade at Virgin, without naming its rival, by saying "Qantas is also the only no risk option to meet the requirement for this allocation of capacity".

The International Air Services Commission is expected to make its decision and grant both of the Tokyo/Haneda openings by 31 October 2019.

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.

blaird

blaird

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Aug 2013

Total posts 15

How many A330's do VA have doing transcon to use on this route?

kurtislee09

kurtislee09

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Sep 2018

Total posts 3

True, a few have been allocated in the SYD/MEL to HKG routes. Not sure what are the plans for Virgin if they do open the route.

djtech

djtech

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Sep 2018

Total posts 88

I feel like they aren't entirely serious given they don't even have a plan of what city is going to get the route. But, I do hope they get it to expand their international footprint. I predict that IASC would grant them 1 slot with the other going for second daily from Sydney for QF.

Yusef Danet

Yusef Danet

20 Oct 2011

Total posts 77

VA would like to begin a composite MEL/SYD roster on the route, ie 4 SYD and 3 MEL per week. Weird that QF says they want both slots for SYD and MEL to HND... leaving QF61 the only flight to NRT (where they have a lounge)??

Expect to see a VA/NH Tie up if approved.

tm_smile

tm_smile

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2011

Total posts 102

NRT lounge is not a loss. HND would mean many more connections with JL codeshares for QF. JL have great lounges at HND anyway

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 922

QF makes money off the NRT lounge. It is open almost all day, with QF pax only there for 2-3 hours in the evening.

A number of other airlines contract use of the lounge.

josephjohn8484

josephjohn8484

17 Jan 2013

Total posts 19

why do you declare "Virgin would need to roster one of its six Airbus A330s to Tokyo" - they have 777-300 er's which arent making money flying to Los Angeles.

Mightyreds

Mightyreds

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 263

LA is rumoured to be a shining light on there international network.

FrequentFlyer

FrequentFlyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 209

Los Angeles is one of their few profitable international networks actually, particularly with cargo.

Gold4Life

Gold4Life

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 12

LAX is a key part of Virgin's network and also tied in with Delta, there is no way they swap LA for Tokyo, besides which a Boeing 777-300 would be massive overkill for Tokyo.

What VA could do would be to reduce SYD-HKG to 4 days/week and and MEL-HKG to 3 days/week, then use just one A330 to cover HKG and put the second onto HND.

I also think that we will see a VA/ANA partnership and they will split their allocated flights between cities, as the article suggests, VA can do BNE-HND and ANA can do MEL-HND.

tmsmile

tmsmile

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 106

They've already reduced HKG to 6x weekly from MEL and to 4x weekly from SYD

DanV

DanV

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 114

Actually, LAX is one of the few (if not only) international routes that is making money for VA.

The Delta/Virgin Australia JV for TransPacific also helps it significantly with feed on both ends, plus cargo.

Source: https://amp.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/flights/virgin-australia-how-its-global-flight-review-will-impact-passengers/news-story/86d656d9acdc849bf200f4ee3f320b51

Globalroaming

Globalroaming

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2011

Total posts 8

Nope. Wrong. josephjohn8484's assertion that the VA “arent (sic) making money flying to Los Angeles” is factually incorrect.

Mavers

Mavers

13 May 2016

Total posts 32

A VA/ANA tie-up would be most welcome.

FrequentFlyer

FrequentFlyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 209

VA have already reduced their HK schedule in light of HK protests. If it were wound back by a few more rotations, or either MEL/SYD dropped, they wouldn't need any additional 330s off the transcon network. Surely Haneda would be a more appealing alternative than HK at the moment! Especially if VA can tie up with ANA.

Pcoder

Pcoder

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 39

Before the submission deadline is reached, the most important thing that is they need to tie up with ANA.

With ANA being the largest airline in Japan, a codeshare/joint venture will make sure the seats are filled. It will also give Virgin the ability to better serve North Asia through using ANA's existing network.

Virgin could always get 1 or 2 extra leased a330s, considering how many aircraft HNA group has stored.

Another option is ANA could always lease a aircraft or two, to allow Virgin to operate this one route or rejig the existing a330 flights again.

Madhatter49

Madhatter49

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 41

Virgin won't lease more aircraft until their current aircraft are at capacity.

They can't afford to do so.

Pcoder

Pcoder

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 39

ANA could always bring support to Virgin through a joint venture, with even ANA covering the cost of the extra jet. It all depends on what ANA does as I'd imagine one of its goals is to keep QF/JL from talking a stranglehold on the Australia-Haneda routes.

Pcoder

Pcoder

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 39

Its all to do with ANA; if there is no partnership planned then this may just be a play by Virgin to get at Qantas. But I rather have the feeling that ANA are concerned about giving too many slots on the Australian routes to it competitor. I could easily see ANA giving Virgin some support as part of a blocking move against QF/JL, including helping out leasing an extra aircraft.

The problem for ANA is if these slots are lost to their competitor, then they are very hard to get back. As they say an Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend.

BLAMEX

BLAMEX

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2017

Total posts 59

Additional competition is good as long as they have the product to compete. Have such limited aircraft is a problem for VA and with out adding to the fleet puts this proposed new route a no go for high yield passengers that need certainty. The ANA venture would assist with this problem via a codeshare

Albinoni1967

Albinoni1967

01 Nov 2018

Total posts 29

Do you think VA will swap its Airbus A330's on its Perth-Sydney and Perth-Melbourne with Boeing 737's and use the A330's for the Japan leg.

declanr

declanr

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Nov 2017

Total posts 14

A Japan leg would certainly make sense for VA as it is short of competition, and you would imagine decent passenger loads if they can replicate their HK product. However, you can't help but wonder if they have more pressing strategic decisions to make before they expand their international footprint.

A cheap shot by Qantas there I see!

1A

1A

17 Sep 2019

Total posts 1

They should allocate VA both slots as a result of the pure arrogance of QF, after QF's sly attempt to put the boot into VA.

The business end of the VA 330's has it all over the QF product.

djtech

djtech

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Sep 2018

Total posts 88

But it would be virtually impossible for Virgin to have both slots with their current limited number of a330s.

Lps988

Lps988

20 Jan 2017

Total posts 29

I thought VA confirmed 'all routes' were under review off the back of their poor results.

Now all of a sudden they're scrambling to get one of these allocating slots from a ' As yet unknown' city. I thought this is what has gotten VA into trouble, hastily planned routes.

Mightyreds

Mightyreds

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 263

With the growth of Japan as a destination and the upcoming Olympics, they would be stupid not to chuck their hat in the ring. For all we know they could have already been looking to Tokyo as an option but were waiting for the opportunity.

A partnership with ANA would certainly make sense and would be seen by the market as a smart move. They would be better dropping destinations within the Pacific that are not profitable for the business.

DownSouth

DownSouth

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 102

I'm with 1A, comments like that from Qantas are so anticompetitive. Also they want to TRANSFER flights ex Mel to Haneda from Narita. Virgin would be adding EXTRA/NEW flights to Tokyo and a further strengthening of the partnership with ANA would be logical and open up fast options for Australians, a new entrant should be given priority, win win all round. IASC throw a slot Virgins way, one each to QF and VA seems fair and expansive for the market and Aussie traveler options.

tmsmile

tmsmile

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 106

VA have zero partners and business case to fly to Japan. If they are awarded any slots, I see then burning through a bunch cash for a year or two then start scaling back flights or cancel the route once they've realised they're never gonna make any money from it. Remember how profitable JNB was, its plans for AUH, the messing around with LAX and the current burning cash pile that is HKG. DPS was a good money burner for a year or two too...

Just cos they're a new entrant doesn't mean they should get they slot. Getting denied a slot probably would help them financially... lol

DownSouth

DownSouth

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 102

Virgin are already partners with ANA, and Haneda is an ANA hub.

tmsmile

tmsmile

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 106

They have an interline agreement. All that means is they check baggage through for ANA pax and vice versa. I wouldn't classify that as a partnership...

DownSouth

DownSouth

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 102

There you go, agreements already in plan, expand to codeshare is all that's required, far far from zero......lol

tmsmile

tmsmile

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 106

ROFL that's not how codeshare and joint ventures work

dm12

dm12

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 38

Is this a joke? Didn't VA just tell everyone of their poor business results and didn't everyone tell them to stop chasing Qantas if they want to make a profit? A different market proposition is needed, not just ah "oh yeah we'll try that too." With what planes and what money are VA intending to launch this? Go away.


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