Qantas drew another red line on its network map this weekend with the launch of direct flights between Brisbane and Tokyo’s Narita Airport.
At the same time, the long-established Sydney flights switched from Narita to Haneda Airport, located much closer to downtown Tokyo than the distant Narita.
Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans sees this as a double win for passengers to Japan, especially business travellers.
“The location of Haneda Airport makes it a logical choice for business travellers, given the easy 15 minute connection to downtown Tokyo”, Evans told Australian Business Traveller on the eve of the Sydney-Haneda launch.
“Narita on the other hand is a great option for leisure travellers wanting to either explore Japan or popular holiday destinations across Jetstar Japan’s extensive domestic network, like Sapporo, Osaka and Fukuoka.”
The Brisbane-Tokyo flights were initially slated to run only four times a week, with another city to pick up the other three days, but Qantas’ Regional General Manager for Queensland Peter Collyns said strong support from Brisbane Airport, Tourism & Events Queensland and chamber of commerce organisations saw Qantas move to lock in the daily service.
“A seven day schedule offers greater certainly for travellers, and for the business traveller in particular if gives them the flexibility they need.”
Collyns told Australian Business Traveller that passenger uptake on both legs of the new route are already strong.
“We’re really happy with the loadings, and the inbound loads are performing really well – actually inbound from Japan we already have some really good numbers coming through.”
Collyns confirms that an upgrade for the Brisbane Airport’s international Qantas lounges is on the way, and tips it will be a substantial one.
“We’ve got a lot of plans, and we’ll see some really good development happening in the next 12-18 months.”
The issue of retaining separate first class and business class lounges or combining them into a single lounge “is one of the questions we’re asking ourselves” Collyns said.
Collyns also hinted at a larger physical footprint for the lounges to cater for higher passenger levels, which will be further buoyed by the daily Brisbane-Narita flight.
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