Qantas and Virgin – new flights to Tokyo/Haneda approved for 2020
The Australian International Air Services Commission (IASC) has made its determination for the competing cases of Virgin and Qantas on this route between Australia and Haneda Airport by March 2020. The determination has a five-year life.
You may remember our earlier report that Qantas and Virgin were having a bit of a playground spat in front of the ACCC over who should have this route. Qantas said it should be all mine, and Virgin said, we only want one, so I ‘spose we can share while looking down and circling its toe in the sand.
Qantas had wanted two routes – one from Sydney to Hanada, and one from Melbourne. Well, it has ended with just one and Qantas has not yet drawn the straws on whether the city pair will involve Sydney or Melbourne and Haneda/Tokyo.
If Qantas goes with Melbourne, then that might replace their current service to the more distant Narita Airport. If they go with Sydney, then Qantas could return another 747 Jumbo in 2020, meaning they would service Japan with a combination of A330’s and Boeing 787’s.
Virgin, on the other hand, has announced it will use Brisbane to pair with Tokyo/Haneda and will use a new Airbus A330. It will also have a codeshare alliance with ANA for domestic flights. ANA flies to 38 destinations from Haneda, so that should get you to most places you want to go. The codeshare will involve reciprocal perks for frequent flyer members, including status credits and points earnings, and lounge access.
There are a couple of qualifiers to the arrangement which is complicated by ANA’s intention to operate an additional flight out of Haneda to an Australian city – yet to be named. (ANA already flies to Perth and Sydney, so this would give it a third destination).
The IASC has made its approval contingent on the ANA/Virgin codeshare agreement not including ‘parallel services on city-pairs’ – which I presume is a way of guaranteeing an actual new service by Australian destination and not just additional frequency. If that’s the case, and Virgin is flying out of Brisbane, and ANA already has Sydney and Perth covered, then I’d be going for Melbourne.
If my friends are anything to go by, Japan has renewed itself as a hot destination, so these additional flights, to the preferable Haneda Airport, if you are heading for Tokyo are a great addition to both Qantas and Virgin’s schedule.
The tie-up between ANA and Virgin should help them compete with the Qantas’s Oneworld alliance partner, Japan Airlines.