Qantas Will Announce New Tokyo Service Next Year

For those of you over the ongoing saga that is Project Sunrise, there is another Qantas parlour game being played – although this one too is rapidly approaching its use-by date. Qantas remains the only airline of the four airlines flying between Australia and Japan that hasn’t announced what it is doing with its new slot pair at Haneda. And today there’s news that Qantas won’t be saying what they plan to do with the slots until the new year.

Qantas has made a decision about Haneda but is sitting on it until after the new year. Photo: James D Morgan/Qantas.

Decision has been made – just not saying yet

There’s a report today in Executive Traveller that quotes Qantas CEO Alan Joyce as saying;

“We have made a decision, but we aren’t announcing it – we’re going to do so in the new year.”

Alternatively, you could just announce something and be done with it, but I guess that’s too straightforward. 

And of course this means all the armchair Qantas CEOs will keep speculating on what the airline plans to do.

Movements on the Australia – Japan route

Competitors on the route between Australia and Japan include Japan Airlines, ANA, and Virgin Australia. Japan Airlines is simply swapping its daily Sydney – Narita flight across to Haneda. ANA is going double daily into Sydney from Haneda, and Virgin Australia is going to begin flying between Brisbane and Haneda.

While the short odds are on Qantas going double daily to Haneda out of Sydney, or possibly offering the only Melbourne- Haneda flights, some punters wouldn’t put it past Qantas to kickstart a service between Brisbane and Haneda – just to cause apoplexy at Virgin Australia. Which would kind of amusing. Cruel, but amusing.

Would Qantas really rain on Virgin’s Brisbane parade. Photo: Laurent Errera via Wikimedia Commons.

The awarding of four slot pairs at Haneda for services between Japan and Australia (two to Japanese carriers and two to Australian carriers) has seen a coalescing of services centred on Sydney. To an extent this makes sense, the city is Australia’s largest and its airport the busiest. It has also seen Melbourne lose out – thus far. Both Qantas and Japan Airlines have daily services out of Melbourne to Narita. But there is nothing to Haneda. Given that there is so much new seat capacity coming into Sydney, it would make a lot of sense for Qantas to flick their Melbourne flight from Narita to Haneda.

Not much chance for airports other than Sydney and Melbourne

Outside the two big airports, Perth is enjoying a new daily ANA service, albeit to Narita and Brisbane is to get the new Virgin Australia service beginning at the end of March 2020. Adelaide has no direct connections to Japan.

ANA is going double daily between Sydney and Haneda. Photo: Toshi Aoki via Wikimedia Commons.

The chances of Qantas looking beyond Sydney or Melbourne are slight. While Brisbane has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance in Qantas international services over the last couple of years, the airline hasn’t demonstrated much interest in Perth and zero interest in Adelaide. And Brisbane is only used as a staging post for some long haul flights until longer-range aircraft come into service.

So why Qantas, for some unfathomable reason, thinks its a good idea to sit on its decision, there remain only two viable options – going double daily to Haneda out of Sydney or going daily out of Melbourne.

Which do you think it will be? Post a comment and let us know.