Virgin Australia vies for lucrative Japan slot with nonstop Brisbane-Tokyo flights

Tokyo, Japan - October 1, 2018: People at the international terminal building of the Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) in Ota Ward, Tokyo, Japan.

Virgin Australia has become the second Australian carrier to apply for new slots available to Tokyo’s Haneda airport.

The airline is seeking one of two new slots made available for flights to Japan by the country’s government and has proposed a nonstop service between Brisbane and Tokyo Haneda airport.

In its application to the International Air Services Commission (IASC), lodged 24 September, Virgin Australia said the new route has the potential to “deliver significant and sustained benefits for travellers and Australian exporters, boosting tourism and trade flows between the two countries.”

“The Japan market represents an excellent strategic fit for Virgin Australia, as a destination with a strong growth outlook for both inbound and outbound travel, and which appeals to our leisure and corporate customers alike,” the airline added.

If successful, Virgin Australia would commence a daily service to Haneda from 29 March 2020, which it said would complement its current codeshare arrangement with All Nippon Airways (ANA) for services between Perth and Tokyo.

“It’s clearly in the best interests of travellers for Virgin Australia to offer this new service to Japan as it will bring competition to the route and enable Australians to access the best value fares,” a Virgin spokesperson told Travel Weekly.

Qantas currently operates a service from Sydney to Haneda airport but is seeking both new Japan slots for an additional service between Sydney-Haneda and a new Melbourne-Haneda service.

Qantas claimed in its application to the IASC it is the only Australian carrier to have “the necessary brand, sales and distribution, network, marketing presence and regulatory approvals to support these additional services in a long-term and sustainable manner”.

Virgin believes the greatest public benefits are likely to be realised by splitting the available capacity between the two carriers, which it said was currently a “monopoly” route served by Qantas, according to Virgin’s IASC statement.

Qantas declined to comment on the status of its application.

Virgin Australia has also requested permission for reciprocal codeshare services with All Nippon Airways (ANA), which will also include loyalty benefits for Velocity Frequent Flyer members and ANA Mileage Club members.

After receiving applications from both carriers, the IASC is now inviting submissions about the applications, as per section 12 of the International Air Services Commission Act 1992 and section 7 of the International Air Services Regulations 2018.

The closing date for lodging submissions is 2 October 2019.

Latest News

  • Aviation

Board Air Canada in Sydney’s CBD via a sleek Light Rail

Visitors flocking to Vivid Sydney will glide through the CBD in the newest addition to the Air Canada fleet – a sleek Light Rail tram wrapped in the airline’s unique livery. The Air Canada-themed tram is part of a new marketing campaign designed to put Air Canada in lights during the Vivid Sydney festival (25 […]