ANA plans to return to Sydney for the first time since 1999 when it commences daily flights from Tokyo Haneda in December.
The Japanese carrier said on Thursday it would deploy Boeing 787-9s configured with 48 business, 21 premium economy and 146 economy seats on the Sydney-Tokyo Haneda route, with the inaugural flight to take off on December 11.
“We are thrilled to be expanding our footprint in Oceania and offering our passengers additional options and convenient connections through Haneda Airport,” ANA chief executive Osamu Shinobe said in a statement.
“Our most comfortable seating and the optimised in-cabin humidity and air pressure of Boeing’s 787-9 Dreamliner should be especially good news for overnight travellers.”
The addition of Sydney to ANA’s route network is one of four new destinations for the Star Alliance member in 2015 alongside Houston, Kuala Lumpur and Brussels.
It also is the latest step in ANA’s push to increase revenues from its international operations by 50 per cent over the next decade.
Qantas and Japan Airlines currently fly daily between Sydney and Tokyo Narita. Qantas is shifting its flights from Narita to Haneda, which is located closer to downtown Tokyo, on July 31, and launching a new Brisbane-Tokyo Narita service on August 1.
Ticket sales for the daily service, which is an overnight flight in both directions, were expected to start in August, ANA said.
Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said the new ANA service would boost tourism in NSW and welcomed the airline’s decision.
“Japan has been Sydney’s fastest growing international destination for Australians over the past three years, so this new service will also offer more choice to Australians travelling to Japan for business and leisure,” Mather said in a statement.
Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said research showed the Japanese ranked Australia second on their global travel wish list. However a shortage of aviation capacity was a “key barrier to them actually visiting in recent years”.
“ANA’s new service will add close to 80,000 seats to Australia each year, which will be hugely significant in terms of boosting inbound travel from Japan,” O’Sullivan said.
“Japan is still a high volume inbound market for us – our seventh largest – and we’ll certainly be doing everything we can, alongside Sydney Airport and Destination NSW, to assist ANA in making sure this new service is strongly promoted and that we fill these seats.”