Qantas has launched a new thrice-weekly route between Brisbane and Tokyo’s close-in Haneda airport.

The carrier last flew between Brisbane and Tokyo in late 2021, and has switched airports in the Japanese capital from Narita to Haneda.

Qantas regional general manager for Asia, John Simeone said that the move “gives our customers much easier and faster access to downtown Tokyo and one of the world’s most important business markets, saving more than an hour of transit time in getting to the city”.

Flights depart Brisbane at 1150 on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving into Haneda at 2000, with the return leg leaving Tokyo at 2130 and landing back into Brisbane at 0735 the following day.

The route is being operated by an A330 aircraft configured with economy and business class cabins, with a total of 1,700 seats being offered on the route each week.

The Brisbane-Haneda service joins Qantas’ existing Sydney-Haneda route, and comes ahead of long-awaited new flights between Melbourne and Haneda, which were delayed due to Covid-19 and are now set to launch in March 2023.

The route has been supported by Queensland’s $200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, in partnership with the State’s four international airports, with Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe commenting:

“Every year, Qantas direct from Haneda will land 46,460 seats in Brisbane and deliver more opportunities for Japanese visitors to enjoy Queensland’s great lifestyle.

“We know Japanese visitors love our iconic, world-class visitor experiences and with return travel becoming much easier, we’re excited to welcome travellers from Japan back to the Queensland sunshine.

“Before the pandemic, Japan was one Queensland tourism’s top five nations for overseas holiday arrivals and visitor spending.

“Direct Qantas flights from Tokyo Haneda will potentially generate $41 million a year for Brisbane’s visitor economy and support 400 good Queensland jobs.”

The resumption of flights from Brisbane and Tokyo also coincides with the 75th anniversary of Qantas flights between Australia and Japan later this month.

The carrier’s first service operated between Sydney and Hofu in Japan’s Yamaguchi Prefecture on December 18, 1947, with the Lancastrian aircraft operated flight taking 27 hours and 21 minutes, and carrying six passengers and 1,200 pounds of mail.