Rival Australian airlines Qantas and Virgin Australia have been awarded one slot each at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, according to a draft decision by Australia’s International Air Services Commission (IASC).
The IASC has also approved Virgin Australia’s plans to codeshare with Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA).
Both Qantas and Virgin Australia have been vying for the highly desirable slots at Haneda Airport after the Australian and Japanese governments agreed to allocate a total of two slots for services between the two countries. Qantas applied for both slots while Virgin Australia only applied for one.
What was in the initial applications from the Australian carriers?
Qantas’ application shows plans to introduce a daily Melbourne to Tokyo-Haneda route on an Airbus A330 which would replace its current Melbourne to Tokyo-Narita Service.
It also said it wanted to launch a Sydney to Tokyo-Haneda daily service flown on either an A330 or Boeing 787-9. The IASC draft notes: “Qantas has not publicly disclosed how it would utilise the additional frequency if it were granted only one frequency rather than the two it seeks”.
When asked what route will be flown on the allocated slot, a spokesperson from Qantas told Business Traveller Asia-Pacific the following: “We look forward to adding even more flights from Australia to Haneda Airport. We’ll confirm whether these flights will operate from Melbourne or Sydney shortly.”
Virgin Australia, on the other hand, asked to operate a daily service between Brisbane and Haneda using its Airbus 330-200 aircraft. No carrier currently serves Haneda from Brisbane according to the IASC.
Qantas, Virgin Australia services between Australia and Japan
Qantas operates five to seven weekly services in each direction from Brisbane and Melbourne Airports to Narita; a daily service from Sydney to Haneda; and three to four weekly flights in each direction between Sydney and Osaka Kansai.
Virgin Australia does not currently operate any services to Japan, but offers codeshare flights on Singapore Airlines services via Singapore.