Virgin Australia has been awarded the slot for one of two exclusive routes to Toyko Haneda from Australia. The airline plans to run a new route from Brisbane in the lead up to the 2020 Olympic Games. Qantas had applied for both slots and believed to be awarded one under this new draft proposal.
What are the details?
Virgin Australia has been successful in its application for a new route from Brisbane, Australia to Tokyo, Japan.
“We’re pleased that the International Air Services Commission has issued a draft determination, proposing to award Virgin Australia with one of the daily frequencies to Haneda, Japan. Virgin Australia plans to use this allocation to operate a daily service between Brisbane and Haneda from 29 March 2020 and bring strong competition and choice to the market.” – Virgin Australia spokesperson
The route will be run by an older A330-200 aircraft that is currently operating Australia to the Hong Kong route. Whilst not mentioned in the release, one could make an educated guess that the Hong Kong route has not been hugely successful for Virgin Australia (especially with the recent events in the city) and moving this aircraft to Japan would be a good switch.
The route will be codeshared with ANA who will now be able to sell fares throughout the Virgin Australia network.
“We can’t wait to provide guests with the best value fares and our unique Virgin experience to Japan.”
Who supported the Virgin Australia application?
The application was supported by the Australian Competition and Consumer Council, a government body that is an advocate for fair market conditions. As Qantas was the only Australian airline to offer flights to Japan (through their mainline fleet and their low-cost carrier Jetstar) it was considered a monopoly. Thus a new operator (the fourth to offer direct routes between the two countries, behind Qantas, JAL, and ANA) is welcomed by the ACCC.
Currently, Qantas and JAL offer 90% of all the Australia route capacity, with ANA offering the remaining 10%.
“This opportunity will enable a fourth airline to enter the Japan route, bringing a new source of competition which would deliver significant benefits for travelers, boosting tourism flows,” Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison mentioned in a letter to the IASC as published by the Sydney Morning Herald “Virgin’s new service would increase capacity, add new flight and route options, enhance code-share connectivity and lower airfares”
Qantas had alternatively applied for both the two slots, offering new flights from Sydney and Melbourne. As of now, it is unknown which route they will keep in light of this draft award.
As of right now, we don’t know the exact frequencies nor when the service will start, but we are sure to have more details very soon.
Will you be flying on the new route? Let us know in the comments.