With Japan now welcoming foreign visitors, airlines are starting to relaunch services.
Last month we reported that British Airways would be restarting services to Tokyo Haneda on November 13.
Now comes news that Finnair will boost its Tokyo services from seven to nine flights a week effective October 30.
Tokyo’s convenient Haneda airport will gain a daily service from Helsinki when the airline switches its daily Narita service to Haneda. Narita will then retain two weekly flights from Helsinki making nine flights weekly in total.
As might be expected of a sixth-freedom carrier Finnair’s schedules are timed for connecting flights.
The daily Helsinki-Tokyo Haneda flight departs 1755 and arrives the following day at 1425.
The flight to Helsinki departs Haneda at 2155 to land the next day at 0425.
Finnair’s website lists the flying time at 13 hrs 30 mins in both directions.
Andrew Fish, Finnair’s UK GM, said:
“We know that customers will appreciate the return of the shorter northern route between Europe and Japan even with the closure of Russian airspace, and quick connections between flights at Helsinki.”
Return fares from London start at £821 for economy, £1,364 for premium economy and £3,276 for business class.
I have spent hours checking flight schedules between London and Tokyo.
Right now only Japan Airlines and ANA operate the route. Flight times vary depending on direction of travel.
I say this because as these airlines become accustomed to the longer routings (avoiding Russian air space) and learned exact flight durations, they have reduced published flight times. It therefore means that when comparing routings via Helsinki, it is clearer how much longer they will take (when the connection is considered).
Let me explain.
London-Tokyo flights invariably take the southern routing over Kazakhstan and then across mainland China.
ANA’s recent timings for NH212, reported on uk.flightaware.com, show that London-Tokyo can now take as little as 12 hrs 56 mins.
Tokyo-London flights usually take the northerly route via Alaska.
Yesterday ANA’s flight NH211 made the trip in 13 hrs mins 48 mins, arriving at Heathrow more than one hour early (and we were told that a T2 gate was already free).
Last March we reported on how airlines flying Europe-NE Asia were preparing to avoid Russian airspace.
As can be seen above the timings then were longer than today as airlines hone their routings (doubtless wind speed plays a role too).