Virgin Australia Awarded Tokyo Haneda Slot In Competition With Qantas

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.

qantas-virgin-tokyo-battle
Virgin Australia has won the landing slot. Photo: Virgin Australia.

What are the details?

Virgin Australia has been successful in its application for a new route from Brisbane, Australia to Tokyo, Japan.

The new route will link the capital of Queensland, Australia, and Tokyo. Photo: GC Maps

“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

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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.

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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.”

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Landing at LAX
The airline is very excited to offer this new route to customers: Photo: Tim Bowrey – Virgin Australia

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.

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Phil

If Qantas was wise they’d prioritise Melbourne to Haneda over a 2nd flight from Sydney to Haneda.

ANA has a 2nd slot for Haneda to Australia which they’ll surely use for a Melbourne to Haneda flight so Qantas should catch up with the competition.

Also JAL will most likely use their extra slot to swap its Sydney-Narita flight for a Sydney to Haneda flight which makes it 3 daily flights to Haneda from Sydney. It would just be plain dumb for Qantas to add a 4th daily service it would just be overkill.

Shimizu Dayz

With Qantas retiring their 747 currently servicing Haneda – Sydney, they will need a 2nd daily service on the route to maintain capacity I would have thought?

Phil

Good point but why does SYD need 4 daily HND flights for? ANA has their service, JAL will most likely use their slot for a daily SYD-HND service and Qantas already has their overnight service to HND from Sydney. Does Qantas really want to risk losing Melbourne customers to ANA who will most likely use their new slot for a MEL-HND flight?

Chris

Yes, I will fly my airline when they start flying there! I can’t wait to see Japan!

Prosail

thanks for the information

Drew

“An older A330-200”. Virgins A330’s are only 5 to 6 years old. They are still practically new.

Michael Mitchell

I will be pleased to use Virgin on this route if the times are OK. Sadly whenever QANTAS and its code share alliances work a route( such as the old Hong Kong – Australia), we end up paying a premium price for an average product.