Qantas upgrades Sydney-Osaka to year-round service

Qantas will operate Airbus A330s to Osaka. (Rob Finlayson)
Qantas will operate Airbus A330s to Osaka. (Rob Finlayson)

Qantas will operate its proposed three-times-weekly Sydney-Osaka flight as a year-round service from mid-December.

Originally, the only direct flights between Australia’s largest and Japan’s second largest cities was going to operate as a seasonal service running from December 17 2017 to March 24 2018.

However, Qantas said on Thursday it would become a permanent part of the schedule beyond March 24 after a better-than-expected response from the travelling public and support from tourism bodies and Osaka Kansai airport.

“When we announced the direct seasonal service between Sydney and Osaka in July, we knew it would be popular with our customers, including those travelling from New Zealand, who wanted another gateway into Japan,” Qantas international chief executive Gareth Evans said in a statement.

“We are really pleased to be able to extend the service year-round to support the strong growth in travel between the two countries.”

On March 25, Qantas is replacing one of its daily Airbus A330 Sydney-Singapore rotations with an Airbus A380 service operating Sydney-Singapore-London Heathrow. It is likely that the freeing up of that A330 has allowed Qantas to extend Sydney-Osaka to year-round.

Qantas will mark 70 years of flying to Japan in December. In addition to the upcoming start of flights to Osaka, Qantas also has daily flights between Sydney and Tokyo Haneda, as well as flights from Melbourne and Brisbane to Tokyo Narita.

Jetstar also flies to Tokyo from Cairns and the Gold Coast and to Osaka from Cairns.

When the flights were first launched in July, a Qantas spokesperson told Australian Aviation via email the flights would be operated largely by 297-seat A330-300s but with some Monday flights operated by 271-seat A330-200s according to operational requirements.

Qantas last flew to Osaka in 2006-07 when it operated Cairns-Kansai services with Boeing 767-300ERs, having taking on the route from its short-lived Australian Airlines long-haul low-cost carrier subsidiary and before subsequently transferring the route to Jetstar operating A330-200s.

The airline also flew to Osaka Kansai in the mid-1990s operating Boeing 747s on a Sydney-Kansai-Brisbane-Sydney rotation (the inaugural flight flew into Kansai on the airport’s opening day of September 4 1994, and was operated by the Wunala Dreaming–painted 747-400, VH-OJB). Qantas then switched to a Cairns-Kansai schedule (with 767-300ERs) and also briefly operated Melbourne-Kansai flights (again with 767-300ERs).

Ansett Australia also operated Sydney-Kansai-Brisbane flights between 1994 and its collapse in September 2001, using 747-300s and 747-400s.

And Air New Zealand operated seasonal three-times-weekly Auckland-Kansai flights between November 2016 and March 2017 with Boeing 787-9s (and not 767s as planned when it announced the route in March 2016).

Figures from the Australian government’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) showed the number of passengers travelling between Australia and Japan rose 10.6 per cent to 1.3 million in the 12 months to June 30 2017.

Japan is Australia’s 10th largest international passenger market, based on uplift and discharge data.

Qantas Sydney-Osaka Kansai schedule
Flt Num Route Dep/Arr Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
QF33 SYD-KIX 0930/1725
(from March28 2018)
✔
(until March22 2018)
✔
1325/2120 ✔
QF34 KIX-SYD 1855/0645+1
(from March28 2018)
✔
(until March22 2018)
✔
2250/1040+1 ✔

Comments

  1. Craig says

    Good to see regular flights to Kansai again

    Speaking of the A380, OQK returned from maintenance in Manilla last night. Does anyone know if it was repainted in the new livery?

  2. PeterL says

    Mmm so when is Qantas going to fit premium economy to the A330?

    Qantas take note, will avoid flying with you on the A330 until you fit premium economy seats, some people are too tall for economy and cannot afford business……

  3. Veejette says

    To Craig above………

    ‘Manilla’, two ‘l’s’, is a folder……

    City is spelt ‘Manila’, IATA Code MNL……..