Qantas said it will launch daily direct flights between Melbourne and Tokyo’s Narita Airport from Dec 16, responding to growing demand and marking the next step in its Asian growth strategy.
The new route will be operated by an upgraded, two-class A330-300 with 297 seats – the aircraft widely seen as best in class for the business market.
It adds to Qantas’ popular Sydney-Tokyo (Haneda) and Brisbane -Tokyo (Narita) services, launched in 2015, and will connect travellers with the broader Qantas Group network – including Jetstar’s extensive domestic network within Japan and the Group’s services across the Tasman.
The number of visitors to Australia from Japan grew by 17% in 2015/16 financial year, with those travellers spending $1.5 billion – up 14% on the previous year. Outbound travel by Australians to Japan is also growing rapidly, having seen a 24% increase in 2015.
Qantas and Jetstar will both operate flights from Melbourne to Tokyo (Narita) during the December 2016-February 2017 holiday peak. Jetstar will then cease flights on the direct route after Feb 25, 2017.
Chief Executive Officer of Qantas International and Freight, Gareth Evans, said the new service built on Qantas’ long history of flying to Japan and significant expansion in the market over the past year.
“We’re delighted to be stepping up our commitment to the Japanese market at a boom time for tourism and business travel,” Evans said.
“The Qantas Group is perfectly placed to support the resurgent growth we’re seeing, with the biggest Australia-Japan network, the biggest domestic network in Australia, and the biggest low-cost carrier network in Japan through Jetstar.
“Our dual-brand strategy and the size of our fleet means we have the ability to move quickly to meet demand where it’s strongest, putting the right aircraft on the right route. We have received great feedback on the world-class product we’ve created for our Airbus A330 fleet, and now even more customers flying to Japan will be able to enjoy the reconfigured aircraft. We lifted Qantas’ capacity on Asian routes by 17% last financial year, so this is very much part of a larger pivot to Asia.”
Jetstar customers who are booked on Melbourne-Tokyo (Narita) flights from Feb 26, 2017 onwards will be reaccommodated on Qantas’ Melbourne-Tokyo (Narita) flights. Jetstar continues to operate direct international services from the Gold Coast and Cairns to Tokyo (Narita) and Cairns to Osaka.© Japan Today