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Japanese airline ANA will begin Boeing 787-9 flights between Sydney and Tokyo from 11 December 2015, introducing competition for Qantas on the resurgent Australia-Japan route.
The daily service will be flown by a Boeing 787-9, which will depart from Tokyo's downtown Haneda Airport at 10.10pm as NH879 to reach Sydney at 9.35am the next day.
After spending the day in Sydney, ANA's Dreamliner will be wheels-up at 9.30pm as flight NH880, allowing business travellers to hit the ground running in Haneda – perhaps fuelled by an extra strong shot of coffee – at 5.05am the next day.
Inbound travellers headed for elsewhere in Japan will have plenty of domestic ANA connections to choose from, with the airline offering an add-on 'Experience Japan' fare of ¥10,800 (A$120) for any domestic segment.
Tickets for the new route are now on sale, with return business class prices from the December 11 debut of ANA's flight NH879 through to early January 2016 start at ¥304,720 or $3,312.
Tickets can also be snapped up using frequent flyer points from a diverse array of sources including Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines, American Express Membership Rewards and Westpac Altitude Rewards, as well as miles bought 'in bulk' from Avianca and United.
ANA pulled out of the Sydney-Tokyo route in July 1999, leaving the corridor in the hands of Qantas and its Oneworld partner Japan Airlines.
Qantas currently runs a daily flight between Sydney and Tokyo's Haneda Airport, while Japan Airlines operates a daily Boeing 777 service between Sydney and Narita. Qantas' low-cost arm Jetstar flies from several Australia cities into Tokyo and Osaka.
Inside ANA's Boeing 787-9
ANA has the world's largest fleet of Boeing 787s, with both the original 787-8 (for which it was the launch airline) and the larger, longer-range 787-9.
Sydney will be seeing an 'international' version of ANA's Boeing 787-9, rather than the model used for domestic flights (which has more seats overall, and only recliners in business class instead of fully-flat beds).
The international Dreamliner has 215 seats split between business class, premium economy and economy cabins.
The 48 business class seats, arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 layout so that each passenger enjoys privacy as well as direct aisle access, convert to a fully flat bed.
A cosy 21 seat premium economy zone offers more legroom across the 2-3-2 configuration, with a swing-up legrest in the front row and swing-down footrests in all other rows, plus AC and USB power for every seat.
There are no surprises in economy, with 146 seats arranged 3-3-3 at a respectable 34 inch pitch and AC and USB sockets close at hand.
ANA has also dressed one of its Boeing 787-9s in an eye-catching Star Wars livery...
... inspired by R2-D2, to be precise...
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