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Virgin Australia outlines plans for new Brisbane-Tokyo Haneda flights

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 25, 2019
Could Virgin Australia Airbus A330-200s be taking off to Tokyo Haneda? (Seth Jaworski)
Could Virgin Australia Airbus A330-200s be taking off to Tokyo Haneda? (Seth Jaworski)

Virgin Australia is seeking one of the new slots available to Tokyo Haneda airport to launch nonstop flights from Brisbane.

The airline’s application to the International Air Services Commission (IASC) says the new Brisbane-Tokyo Haneda service would be operated by Airbus A330-200 equipment and flown in partnership with Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA).

“The Japan market represents an excellent strategic fit for Virgin Australia, as a destination with a strong growth outlook for both inbound and outbound travel, and which appeals to our leisure and corporate customers alike,” Virgin Australia said in its submission posted on the IASC website on Wednesday.

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Earlier in September, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) allocated a total of four new slot pairs for Australia-Tokyo Haneda routes, comprising two new slot pairs for Japanese carriers – one for All Nippon Airways (ANA) and one for Japan Airlines – and two new slot pairs for Australian carriers.

The allocation was among a package of 50 slot pairs for international services at Tokyo Haneda, with 25 for Japanese airlines and 25 for international carriers.

Also, the slots would be for daytime services – notionally between 0600 and 2255 – as air traffic managers opened up more airspace in the Tokyo area to support the additional flights.

The IASC, which manages Australia’s international traffic rights, said on September 3 it was aiming to allocate the two Tokyo Haneda slots by October 31 2019, in order to enable Australian carriers to begin flights from March 29 2020, the start of the 2020 northern summer scheduling period. It described the deadline as a “tight timeframe”.

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“The new capacity to Haneda provides an excellent opportunity for a new entrant to successfully break into the market and establish a strong position for itself, given the advantages that Haneda enjoys over Narita in terms of convenience and proximity to the Tokyo central business district,” the Virgin Australia submission said.

“An allocation of capacity to Virgin Australia will therefore enable us not just to compete with the Qantas Group and Japan Airlines, but to effectively compete.”

Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways (ANA) aircraft at Tokyo Haneda Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways (ANA) aircraft at Tokyo Haneda Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

Partnership with ANA

Tokyo Haneda Airport had previously been predominantly used by Japanese carriers as a domestic airport. However, there have been efforts to expand the number of international services at Haneda amid a Japanese government push to attract more tourists to the country.

In addition to being much closer to central Tokyo compared with Narita’s location on the eastern side of the city, Haneda also offers a host of potential connections to other destinations in Japan.

Virgin Australia said in its submission its partnership with ANA would include reciprocal code share services on nonstop Australia-Japan routes, as well as on flights within the two carrier’s domestic networks, which would provide a “critical source of passenger feed onto the new flights”.

There would also be reciprocal loyalty benefits for members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity and ANA’s Mileage Club frequent flyer programs, including access to priority checkin, baggage and boarding along with lounge access for eligible members.

“This partnership is an essential element of our strategy to establish a strong position in the Japan market in the future and a key point of difference relative to the proposal by the Qantas Group,” Virgin Australia said in its submission.

The submission noted ANA offered 38 domestic code share connections out of Tokyo Haneda, compared with five at Tokyo Narita.

“Virgin Australia would not be prepared to commence services to Japan if our only option to serve Tokyo was through operations to Narita, as we would not have the ability to leverage our partnership with ANA,” Virgin Australia said.

While Virgin Australia currently does not fly to Japan with its own aircraft, it sells codeshares flights between Australia and five destinations in Japan operated by its alliance partner Singapore Airlines (SIA).

Virgin Australia flies Airbus A330-200s to Hong Kong. (Rob Finlayson)
Virgin Australia flies Airbus A330-200s to Hong Kong. (Rob Finlayson)

Qantas seeking both slots

While Virgin Australia was seeking one slot, its rival Qantas lodged an application to the IASC for both slots, to be used for a second daily Sydney-Haneda flight and to switch its Melbourne-Tokyo Narita service to Haneda.

Qantas said in the submission to the IASC its plans to add flights to Tokyo Haneda did not deny competition from other Australian carriers, noting there was unrestricted capacity for operating into Tokyo Narita and other points in Japan under the current air services agreement between the two countries.

Further, the Flying Kangaroo said it was the “only no risk option” to meet the requirement for the two Tokyo Haneda slots to be utilised from March 29 2020.

Virgin Australia said it was well-placed to begin flights at the start of the northern summer 2020 scheduling season on March 29 2020, having completed an operational feasibility assessment in May 2019 and already held a Permission Certificate/business licence from the Japanese Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

“Any suggestion that Virgin Australia will not be able to launch flights on 29 March 2020, or lacks the commercial capability to set up our services for success in the future, is mere conjecture,” ,” the Virgin Australia submission said.

“Commencing operations to Haneda is a top priority for our business and the project is being delivered in accordance with strict timeframes under the stewardship of a robust governance structure.”

Virgin Australia said in its submission the greatest public benefits was “likely to be realised by splitting the available capacity between itself and Qantas.

“Such an outcome would facilitate increased competition, choice and more capacity than if both daily frequencies were allocated to the Qantas Group as it has requested.”

“It is difficult to understand how an allocation of all the new capacity to Haneda to the Qantas Group, in addition to the one slot to Haneda that it currently holds, would be capable of fostering an environment in which Virgin Australia or any other Australian international carrier would be able to compete effectively on the route in the future.”

Figures in the the Virgin Australia submission showed allocating one slot to Virgin Australia would add between 77,380 and 110,960 more seats on Australia-Japan routes than if both slots were allocated to Qantas.

Figures from the IASC submission.
Figures from Virgin Australia’s submission. (Virgin Australia)

Virgin Australia’s current international network covered 15 destinations split between short-haul routes to New Zealand, the nations of the South Pacific and Denpasar in Indonesia, and long-haul flights to Hong Kong and Los Angeles.

Its widebody fleet sits at 11 aircraft – five Boeing 777-300ERs that are used on flights to Los Angeles from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as six Airbus A330-200s that operate to Hong Kong from Melbourne and Sydney, between Sydney and Nadi, and on nonstop services from Perth to Australia’s east coast capitals.

Currently, there were nine nonstop routes between Australia and Japan operated by four carriers – Sydney-Tokyo Haneda (ANA and Qantas), Sydney-Tokyo Narita (Japan Airlines), Sydney-Osaka Kansai (Qantas), Melbourne-Tokyo Narita (Japan Airlines and Qantas), Brisbane-Tokyo Narita (Qantas), Gold Coast-Tokyo Narita (Jetstar), Cairns-Osaka Kansai (Jetstar), Cairns-Tokyo Narita (Jetstar) and the recently commenced Perth-Tokyo Narita service from ANA.

And there is new capacity coming later in 2019, with Qantas scheduled to operate a seasonal Sydney-Sapporo nonstop flight with Airbus A330 equipment between December 2019 and March 2020.

Virgin Australia wants one Tokyo Haneda slot, while Qantas is seeking two. (Rob Finlayson)
Virgin Australia wants one Tokyo Haneda slot, while Qantas is seeking two. (Rob Finlayson)

25% off starts now! Australian Aviation magazine Cyber Monday sale is now live. Have the very best of Australian Aviation’s annual print and digital subscription. This includes every In Focus and Behind the Lens digital magazine, special coverage, exclusive photos and editions you may have miss. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

19 Comments

  • Phil

    says:

    The question is now if qantas only gets one slot would they launch the MEL-HND flights or go for the second daily SYD-HND. What qantas should do is launch the MEL-HND flights and perhaps JAL could do the second SYD-HND flight.

  • Scott

    says:

    Great proposal, the ANA case RE connections at Haneda 38 vs Narita 5, is strong and compelling.
    Fantastic opportunity for Virgins Australian and ANA’s Japanese passengers with the codeshare arrangements.

  • Rod Pickin

    says:

    Well done VOZ, a positive move, a huge market in this region awaits

    • Shane

      says:

      Why now? They had plenty of time before to fly to Japan.

  • Craigy

    says:

    Virgin flying Brisbane – Haneda isn’t adding competition to the Qantas Group and Japan Airlines because they would be the only carrier on the route. Adding competition would be if they flew Brisbane to Narita where they would be competing with Qantas.
    Reading between the lines suggests that Virgin are saying they can only make money if they fly into Haneda.

  • Patrick

    says:

    I think what VA really needs is more A330’s, or better still A321XLR’s, as in using an A332 for BNE-HND, the frequency of Australian transcontinental flights or Hong Kong flights would have to be reduced. One could argue that less capacity into Hong Kong is beneficial at the moment, for the unfortunate political situation, a real setback for VA’s international conquests. VA could better invest in a route to London via HK with Virgin Atlantic, disrupting the market, yet is unlikely to be profitable, at least in the short term. Asia is the untapped market, which foreign airlines keep tapping into. I think VA should get more A330’s and A321XLR’s, flying to underserved markets such as India or even Kathmandu! A larger fleet would also increase the reliability of its service (on-time performance), as is evident on their flagship international route.

    https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/va1

    • Rod Pickin

      says:

      Hi Patrick I do agree with you in that VA needs more A330’s however, much as I like and have experienced the A321NEO, obviously not the XLR, it most certainly is not the aircraft type any operator of consequence in this country would consider for long haul ops, fine for European ops for the masses running from the cold to the warmer climate of the “Med” region, maybe ok too for ops too ex Oz for Bali but it still remains a single aisle domestic unit albeit with great options. Maybe good for consideration when toying with equipping away from the B737, something I think they should do when the VA budget improves. At the moment, it is not a practical consideration.

  • Patrick

    says:

    I should’ve specified that comment is based upon that VA’s financial situation will improve, as I hope it will. Evidently, acquiring new planes will unlikely occur in the next 2 years at least, but VA’s current fleet of many 737’s and not much else does not suit every market. A 738 on the SYD-DPS route doesn’t come close to the offering on Qantas or Garuda, losing them customers. In hindsight, the A321XLR is better suited to Jetstar and other LCC’s, and all of their narrowbody fleet is Boeing. That said, it will be interesting to see if the MAX situation changes VA’s approach. Ultimately, I think VA has two many unprofitable routes and too limited international operations, that are hence hindering their bottom line and influencing customer satisfaction.

  • stephen Boyce

    says:

    I hope Virgin or ANA considers Melbourne to Haneda as well

  • Phil Baker

    says:

    Would Qantas proposing to switch its Melbourne – Narita flight to Haneda have any chance of approval? It’s my understanding that an airline is only granted rights for flights into Haneda on the condition it maintains its services to Narita, or has this law passed?

    • Phil

      says:

      @Phil Baker I have a feeling those laws have been relaxed since Lufthansa and Delta have withdrawn services from Narita and exclusively stuck with Haneda

  • Shane

    says:

    Wow. After all these years they could have flown to japan and now that Qantas has asked for the 2 new slots Virgin deciders they want one. Get real they could have flown to Narita anytime. They still will make no money.

  • R Heaton

    says:

    Virgin make NO money…. massive debt…. terrible fleet choices (737 max, no 737 max, A330 leaving….. A330 staying), pffft why would Japan want to risk Virgin?

    • Cassandra

      says:

      R Heaton, A330 leaving…. A330 staying is pure hype amongst people who don’t work for the airline. The A330s are not going nor were they ever going. Virgin makes money… just their costs are too big for an airline their size, hence, finally, they’re cost cutting properly under good leadership. They have 1.5b in debt, Qantas have 4b. B737 max is always coming, just delayed 1.5 more years, with an increase in Max10 orders since the Max issues. Smart move, I reckon they got them on a good deal. Virgin is not a risk for Japan. Even if it was, Qantas would take over the slot pretty quickly. No risk at all.

  • Gale

    says:

    It’s a growing airline Shane. After all these years – Virgin has only had widebodies for 10 years with the first few years intended for LAX (and JNB/HKT/AUH) and PER only. An opportunity arose for a highly sought airport, so now’s the time. New strategy and direction enables such opportunities to be part of its growth. It is anticipated they will make money on it, with a good return on initial investment calculated due to the airport location and Olympics, in addition to rising tourism in and out of Japan, and an impoved ANA partnership. Virgin would’ve applied for one slot with the new Haneda offerings regardless of Qantas’ application. Just Qantas only got in first with their application, including one re-route. Virgin won’t make money this financial year but in two years I’m confident they will. Remember Qantas’ problems and restructure in 2014? It happens.

  • George

    says:

    Well said Gale! I’m sure they’ll be fine under their new leadership and his focus. Revenue has increased consecutively, but costs have blown out of control. May take a year or two to get it under control, but they will do it.

  • Red Cee

    says:

    The question remains, will Virgin be ready to commence the service by the end of March 2020?

  • Grant P

    says:

    There’s no remaining question Red Cee, they’ve made it clear they can and will.

  • George

    says:

    It’ll be a bad look if they don’t do it Red Cee, and they know it. That’s why they’ve confirmed they will do it on time. Let’s hope they keep their promise.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Virgin Australia outlines plans for new Brisbane-Tokyo Haneda flights

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 25, 2019
Could Virgin Australia Airbus A330-200s be taking off to Tokyo Haneda? (Seth Jaworski)
Could Virgin Australia Airbus A330-200s be taking off to Tokyo Haneda? (Seth Jaworski)

Virgin Australia is seeking one of the new slots available to Tokyo Haneda airport to launch nonstop flights from Brisbane.

The airline’s application to the International Air Services Commission (IASC) says the new Brisbane-Tokyo Haneda service would be operated by Airbus A330-200 equipment and flown in partnership with Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA).

“The Japan market represents an excellent strategic fit for Virgin Australia, as a destination with a strong growth outlook for both inbound and outbound travel, and which appeals to our leisure and corporate customers alike,” Virgin Australia said in its submission posted on the IASC website on Wednesday.

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Advertisement

Earlier in September, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) allocated a total of four new slot pairs for Australia-Tokyo Haneda routes, comprising two new slot pairs for Japanese carriers – one for All Nippon Airways (ANA) and one for Japan Airlines – and two new slot pairs for Australian carriers.

The allocation was among a package of 50 slot pairs for international services at Tokyo Haneda, with 25 for Japanese airlines and 25 for international carriers.

Also, the slots would be for daytime services – notionally between 0600 and 2255 – as air traffic managers opened up more airspace in the Tokyo area to support the additional flights.

The IASC, which manages Australia’s international traffic rights, said on September 3 it was aiming to allocate the two Tokyo Haneda slots by October 31 2019, in order to enable Australian carriers to begin flights from March 29 2020, the start of the 2020 northern summer scheduling period. It described the deadline as a “tight timeframe”.

PROMOTED CONTENT

“The new capacity to Haneda provides an excellent opportunity for a new entrant to successfully break into the market and establish a strong position for itself, given the advantages that Haneda enjoys over Narita in terms of convenience and proximity to the Tokyo central business district,” the Virgin Australia submission said.

“An allocation of capacity to Virgin Australia will therefore enable us not just to compete with the Qantas Group and Japan Airlines, but to effectively compete.”

Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways (ANA) aircraft at Tokyo Haneda Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways (ANA) aircraft at Tokyo Haneda Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

Partnership with ANA

Tokyo Haneda Airport had previously been predominantly used by Japanese carriers as a domestic airport. However, there have been efforts to expand the number of international services at Haneda amid a Japanese government push to attract more tourists to the country.

In addition to being much closer to central Tokyo compared with Narita’s location on the eastern side of the city, Haneda also offers a host of potential connections to other destinations in Japan.

Virgin Australia said in its submission its partnership with ANA would include reciprocal code share services on nonstop Australia-Japan routes, as well as on flights within the two carrier’s domestic networks, which would provide a “critical source of passenger feed onto the new flights”.

There would also be reciprocal loyalty benefits for members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity and ANA’s Mileage Club frequent flyer programs, including access to priority checkin, baggage and boarding along with lounge access for eligible members.

“This partnership is an essential element of our strategy to establish a strong position in the Japan market in the future and a key point of difference relative to the proposal by the Qantas Group,” Virgin Australia said in its submission.

The submission noted ANA offered 38 domestic code share connections out of Tokyo Haneda, compared with five at Tokyo Narita.

“Virgin Australia would not be prepared to commence services to Japan if our only option to serve Tokyo was through operations to Narita, as we would not have the ability to leverage our partnership with ANA,” Virgin Australia said.

While Virgin Australia currently does not fly to Japan with its own aircraft, it sells codeshares flights between Australia and five destinations in Japan operated by its alliance partner Singapore Airlines (SIA).

Virgin Australia flies Airbus A330-200s to Hong Kong. (Rob Finlayson)
Virgin Australia flies Airbus A330-200s to Hong Kong. (Rob Finlayson)

Qantas seeking both slots

While Virgin Australia was seeking one slot, its rival Qantas lodged an application to the IASC for both slots, to be used for a second daily Sydney-Haneda flight and to switch its Melbourne-Tokyo Narita service to Haneda.

Qantas said in the submission to the IASC its plans to add flights to Tokyo Haneda did not deny competition from other Australian carriers, noting there was unrestricted capacity for operating into Tokyo Narita and other points in Japan under the current air services agreement between the two countries.

Further, the Flying Kangaroo said it was the “only no risk option” to meet the requirement for the two Tokyo Haneda slots to be utilised from March 29 2020.

Virgin Australia said it was well-placed to begin flights at the start of the northern summer 2020 scheduling season on March 29 2020, having completed an operational feasibility assessment in May 2019 and already held a Permission Certificate/business licence from the Japanese Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

“Any suggestion that Virgin Australia will not be able to launch flights on 29 March 2020, or lacks the commercial capability to set up our services for success in the future, is mere conjecture,” ,” the Virgin Australia submission said.

“Commencing operations to Haneda is a top priority for our business and the project is being delivered in accordance with strict timeframes under the stewardship of a robust governance structure.”

Virgin Australia said in its submission the greatest public benefits was “likely to be realised by splitting the available capacity between itself and Qantas.

“Such an outcome would facilitate increased competition, choice and more capacity than if both daily frequencies were allocated to the Qantas Group as it has requested.”

“It is difficult to understand how an allocation of all the new capacity to Haneda to the Qantas Group, in addition to the one slot to Haneda that it currently holds, would be capable of fostering an environment in which Virgin Australia or any other Australian international carrier would be able to compete effectively on the route in the future.”

Figures in the the Virgin Australia submission showed allocating one slot to Virgin Australia would add between 77,380 and 110,960 more seats on Australia-Japan routes than if both slots were allocated to Qantas.

Figures from the IASC submission.
Figures from Virgin Australia’s submission. (Virgin Australia)

Virgin Australia’s current international network covered 15 destinations split between short-haul routes to New Zealand, the nations of the South Pacific and Denpasar in Indonesia, and long-haul flights to Hong Kong and Los Angeles.

Its widebody fleet sits at 11 aircraft – five Boeing 777-300ERs that are used on flights to Los Angeles from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as six Airbus A330-200s that operate to Hong Kong from Melbourne and Sydney, between Sydney and Nadi, and on nonstop services from Perth to Australia’s east coast capitals.

Currently, there were nine nonstop routes between Australia and Japan operated by four carriers – Sydney-Tokyo Haneda (ANA and Qantas), Sydney-Tokyo Narita (Japan Airlines), Sydney-Osaka Kansai (Qantas), Melbourne-Tokyo Narita (Japan Airlines and Qantas), Brisbane-Tokyo Narita (Qantas), Gold Coast-Tokyo Narita (Jetstar), Cairns-Osaka Kansai (Jetstar), Cairns-Tokyo Narita (Jetstar) and the recently commenced Perth-Tokyo Narita service from ANA.

And there is new capacity coming later in 2019, with Qantas scheduled to operate a seasonal Sydney-Sapporo nonstop flight with Airbus A330 equipment between December 2019 and March 2020.

Virgin Australia wants one Tokyo Haneda slot, while Qantas is seeking two. (Rob Finlayson)
Virgin Australia wants one Tokyo Haneda slot, while Qantas is seeking two. (Rob Finlayson)

25% off starts now! Australian Aviation magazine Cyber Monday sale is now live. Have the very best of Australian Aviation’s annual print and digital subscription. This includes every In Focus and Behind the Lens digital magazine, special coverage, exclusive photos and editions you may have miss. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

19 Comments

  • Phil

    says:

    The question is now if qantas only gets one slot would they launch the MEL-HND flights or go for the second daily SYD-HND. What qantas should do is launch the MEL-HND flights and perhaps JAL could do the second SYD-HND flight.

  • Scott

    says:

    Great proposal, the ANA case RE connections at Haneda 38 vs Narita 5, is strong and compelling.
    Fantastic opportunity for Virgins Australian and ANA’s Japanese passengers with the codeshare arrangements.

  • Rod Pickin

    says:

    Well done VOZ, a positive move, a huge market in this region awaits

    • Shane

      says:

      Why now? They had plenty of time before to fly to Japan.

  • Craigy

    says:

    Virgin flying Brisbane – Haneda isn’t adding competition to the Qantas Group and Japan Airlines because they would be the only carrier on the route. Adding competition would be if they flew Brisbane to Narita where they would be competing with Qantas.
    Reading between the lines suggests that Virgin are saying they can only make money if they fly into Haneda.

  • Patrick

    says:

    I think what VA really needs is more A330’s, or better still A321XLR’s, as in using an A332 for BNE-HND, the frequency of Australian transcontinental flights or Hong Kong flights would have to be reduced. One could argue that less capacity into Hong Kong is beneficial at the moment, for the unfortunate political situation, a real setback for VA’s international conquests. VA could better invest in a route to London via HK with Virgin Atlantic, disrupting the market, yet is unlikely to be profitable, at least in the short term. Asia is the untapped market, which foreign airlines keep tapping into. I think VA should get more A330’s and A321XLR’s, flying to underserved markets such as India or even Kathmandu! A larger fleet would also increase the reliability of its service (on-time performance), as is evident on their flagship international route.

    https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/va1

    • Rod Pickin

      says:

      Hi Patrick I do agree with you in that VA needs more A330’s however, much as I like and have experienced the A321NEO, obviously not the XLR, it most certainly is not the aircraft type any operator of consequence in this country would consider for long haul ops, fine for European ops for the masses running from the cold to the warmer climate of the “Med” region, maybe ok too for ops too ex Oz for Bali but it still remains a single aisle domestic unit albeit with great options. Maybe good for consideration when toying with equipping away from the B737, something I think they should do when the VA budget improves. At the moment, it is not a practical consideration.

  • Patrick

    says:

    I should’ve specified that comment is based upon that VA’s financial situation will improve, as I hope it will. Evidently, acquiring new planes will unlikely occur in the next 2 years at least, but VA’s current fleet of many 737’s and not much else does not suit every market. A 738 on the SYD-DPS route doesn’t come close to the offering on Qantas or Garuda, losing them customers. In hindsight, the A321XLR is better suited to Jetstar and other LCC’s, and all of their narrowbody fleet is Boeing. That said, it will be interesting to see if the MAX situation changes VA’s approach. Ultimately, I think VA has two many unprofitable routes and too limited international operations, that are hence hindering their bottom line and influencing customer satisfaction.

  • stephen Boyce

    says:

    I hope Virgin or ANA considers Melbourne to Haneda as well

  • Phil Baker

    says:

    Would Qantas proposing to switch its Melbourne – Narita flight to Haneda have any chance of approval? It’s my understanding that an airline is only granted rights for flights into Haneda on the condition it maintains its services to Narita, or has this law passed?

    • Phil

      says:

      @Phil Baker I have a feeling those laws have been relaxed since Lufthansa and Delta have withdrawn services from Narita and exclusively stuck with Haneda

  • Shane

    says:

    Wow. After all these years they could have flown to japan and now that Qantas has asked for the 2 new slots Virgin deciders they want one. Get real they could have flown to Narita anytime. They still will make no money.

  • R Heaton

    says:

    Virgin make NO money…. massive debt…. terrible fleet choices (737 max, no 737 max, A330 leaving….. A330 staying), pffft why would Japan want to risk Virgin?

    • Cassandra

      says:

      R Heaton, A330 leaving…. A330 staying is pure hype amongst people who don’t work for the airline. The A330s are not going nor were they ever going. Virgin makes money… just their costs are too big for an airline their size, hence, finally, they’re cost cutting properly under good leadership. They have 1.5b in debt, Qantas have 4b. B737 max is always coming, just delayed 1.5 more years, with an increase in Max10 orders since the Max issues. Smart move, I reckon they got them on a good deal. Virgin is not a risk for Japan. Even if it was, Qantas would take over the slot pretty quickly. No risk at all.

  • Gale

    says:

    It’s a growing airline Shane. After all these years – Virgin has only had widebodies for 10 years with the first few years intended for LAX (and JNB/HKT/AUH) and PER only. An opportunity arose for a highly sought airport, so now’s the time. New strategy and direction enables such opportunities to be part of its growth. It is anticipated they will make money on it, with a good return on initial investment calculated due to the airport location and Olympics, in addition to rising tourism in and out of Japan, and an impoved ANA partnership. Virgin would’ve applied for one slot with the new Haneda offerings regardless of Qantas’ application. Just Qantas only got in first with their application, including one re-route. Virgin won’t make money this financial year but in two years I’m confident they will. Remember Qantas’ problems and restructure in 2014? It happens.

  • George

    says:

    Well said Gale! I’m sure they’ll be fine under their new leadership and his focus. Revenue has increased consecutively, but costs have blown out of control. May take a year or two to get it under control, but they will do it.

  • Red Cee

    says:

    The question remains, will Virgin be ready to commence the service by the end of March 2020?

  • Grant P

    says:

    There’s no remaining question Red Cee, they’ve made it clear they can and will.

  • George

    says:

    It’ll be a bad look if they don’t do it Red Cee, and they know it. That’s why they’ve confirmed they will do it on time. Let’s hope they keep their promise.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Virgin Australia outlines plans for new Brisbane-Tokyo Haneda flights

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 25, 2019
Could Virgin Australia Airbus A330-200s be taking off to Tokyo Haneda? (Seth Jaworski)
Could Virgin Australia Airbus A330-200s be taking off to Tokyo Haneda? (Seth Jaworski)

Virgin Australia is seeking one of the new slots available to Tokyo Haneda airport to launch nonstop flights from Brisbane.

The airline’s application to the International Air Services Commission (IASC) says the new Brisbane-Tokyo Haneda service would be operated by Airbus A330-200 equipment and flown in partnership with Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA).

“The Japan market represents an excellent strategic fit for Virgin Australia, as a destination with a strong growth outlook for both inbound and outbound travel, and which appeals to our leisure and corporate customers alike,” Virgin Australia said in its submission posted on the IASC website on Wednesday.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Earlier in September, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) allocated a total of four new slot pairs for Australia-Tokyo Haneda routes, comprising two new slot pairs for Japanese carriers – one for All Nippon Airways (ANA) and one for Japan Airlines – and two new slot pairs for Australian carriers.

The allocation was among a package of 50 slot pairs for international services at Tokyo Haneda, with 25 for Japanese airlines and 25 for international carriers.

Also, the slots would be for daytime services – notionally between 0600 and 2255 – as air traffic managers opened up more airspace in the Tokyo area to support the additional flights.

The IASC, which manages Australia’s international traffic rights, said on September 3 it was aiming to allocate the two Tokyo Haneda slots by October 31 2019, in order to enable Australian carriers to begin flights from March 29 2020, the start of the 2020 northern summer scheduling period. It described the deadline as a “tight timeframe”.

PROMOTED CONTENT

“The new capacity to Haneda provides an excellent opportunity for a new entrant to successfully break into the market and establish a strong position for itself, given the advantages that Haneda enjoys over Narita in terms of convenience and proximity to the Tokyo central business district,” the Virgin Australia submission said.

“An allocation of capacity to Virgin Australia will therefore enable us not just to compete with the Qantas Group and Japan Airlines, but to effectively compete.”

Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways (ANA) aircraft at Tokyo Haneda Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways (ANA) aircraft at Tokyo Haneda Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

Partnership with ANA

Tokyo Haneda Airport had previously been predominantly used by Japanese carriers as a domestic airport. However, there have been efforts to expand the number of international services at Haneda amid a Japanese government push to attract more tourists to the country.

In addition to being much closer to central Tokyo compared with Narita’s location on the eastern side of the city, Haneda also offers a host of potential connections to other destinations in Japan.

Virgin Australia said in its submission its partnership with ANA would include reciprocal code share services on nonstop Australia-Japan routes, as well as on flights within the two carrier’s domestic networks, which would provide a “critical source of passenger feed onto the new flights”.

There would also be reciprocal loyalty benefits for members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity and ANA’s Mileage Club frequent flyer programs, including access to priority checkin, baggage and boarding along with lounge access for eligible members.

“This partnership is an essential element of our strategy to establish a strong position in the Japan market in the future and a key point of difference relative to the proposal by the Qantas Group,” Virgin Australia said in its submission.

The submission noted ANA offered 38 domestic code share connections out of Tokyo Haneda, compared with five at Tokyo Narita.

“Virgin Australia would not be prepared to commence services to Japan if our only option to serve Tokyo was through operations to Narita, as we would not have the ability to leverage our partnership with ANA,” Virgin Australia said.

While Virgin Australia currently does not fly to Japan with its own aircraft, it sells codeshares flights between Australia and five destinations in Japan operated by its alliance partner Singapore Airlines (SIA).

Virgin Australia flies Airbus A330-200s to Hong Kong. (Rob Finlayson)
Virgin Australia flies Airbus A330-200s to Hong Kong. (Rob Finlayson)

Qantas seeking both slots

While Virgin Australia was seeking one slot, its rival Qantas lodged an application to the IASC for both slots, to be used for a second daily Sydney-Haneda flight and to switch its Melbourne-Tokyo Narita service to Haneda.

Qantas said in the submission to the IASC its plans to add flights to Tokyo Haneda did not deny competition from other Australian carriers, noting there was unrestricted capacity for operating into Tokyo Narita and other points in Japan under the current air services agreement between the two countries.

Further, the Flying Kangaroo said it was the “only no risk option” to meet the requirement for the two Tokyo Haneda slots to be utilised from March 29 2020.

Virgin Australia said it was well-placed to begin flights at the start of the northern summer 2020 scheduling season on March 29 2020, having completed an operational feasibility assessment in May 2019 and already held a Permission Certificate/business licence from the Japanese Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

“Any suggestion that Virgin Australia will not be able to launch flights on 29 March 2020, or lacks the commercial capability to set up our services for success in the future, is mere conjecture,” ,” the Virgin Australia submission said.

“Commencing operations to Haneda is a top priority for our business and the project is being delivered in accordance with strict timeframes under the stewardship of a robust governance structure.”

Virgin Australia said in its submission the greatest public benefits was “likely to be realised by splitting the available capacity between itself and Qantas.

“Such an outcome would facilitate increased competition, choice and more capacity than if both daily frequencies were allocated to the Qantas Group as it has requested.”

“It is difficult to understand how an allocation of all the new capacity to Haneda to the Qantas Group, in addition to the one slot to Haneda that it currently holds, would be capable of fostering an environment in which Virgin Australia or any other Australian international carrier would be able to compete effectively on the route in the future.”

Figures in the the Virgin Australia submission showed allocating one slot to Virgin Australia would add between 77,380 and 110,960 more seats on Australia-Japan routes than if both slots were allocated to Qantas.

Figures from the IASC submission.
Figures from Virgin Australia’s submission. (Virgin Australia)

Virgin Australia’s current international network covered 15 destinations split between short-haul routes to New Zealand, the nations of the South Pacific and Denpasar in Indonesia, and long-haul flights to Hong Kong and Los Angeles.

Its widebody fleet sits at 11 aircraft – five Boeing 777-300ERs that are used on flights to Los Angeles from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as six Airbus A330-200s that operate to Hong Kong from Melbourne and Sydney, between Sydney and Nadi, and on nonstop services from Perth to Australia’s east coast capitals.

Currently, there were nine nonstop routes between Australia and Japan operated by four carriers – Sydney-Tokyo Haneda (ANA and Qantas), Sydney-Tokyo Narita (Japan Airlines), Sydney-Osaka Kansai (Qantas), Melbourne-Tokyo Narita (Japan Airlines and Qantas), Brisbane-Tokyo Narita (Qantas), Gold Coast-Tokyo Narita (Jetstar), Cairns-Osaka Kansai (Jetstar), Cairns-Tokyo Narita (Jetstar) and the recently commenced Perth-Tokyo Narita service from ANA.

And there is new capacity coming later in 2019, with Qantas scheduled to operate a seasonal Sydney-Sapporo nonstop flight with Airbus A330 equipment between December 2019 and March 2020.

Virgin Australia wants one Tokyo Haneda slot, while Qantas is seeking two. (Rob Finlayson)
Virgin Australia wants one Tokyo Haneda slot, while Qantas is seeking two. (Rob Finlayson)

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19 Comments

  • Phil

    says:

    The question is now if qantas only gets one slot would they launch the MEL-HND flights or go for the second daily SYD-HND. What qantas should do is launch the MEL-HND flights and perhaps JAL could do the second SYD-HND flight.

  • Scott

    says:

    Great proposal, the ANA case RE connections at Haneda 38 vs Narita 5, is strong and compelling.
    Fantastic opportunity for Virgins Australian and ANA’s Japanese passengers with the codeshare arrangements.

  • Rod Pickin

    says:

    Well done VOZ, a positive move, a huge market in this region awaits

    • Shane

      says:

      Why now? They had plenty of time before to fly to Japan.

  • Craigy

    says:

    Virgin flying Brisbane – Haneda isn’t adding competition to the Qantas Group and Japan Airlines because they would be the only carrier on the route. Adding competition would be if they flew Brisbane to Narita where they would be competing with Qantas.
    Reading between the lines suggests that Virgin are saying they can only make money if they fly into Haneda.

  • Patrick

    says:

    I think what VA really needs is more A330’s, or better still A321XLR’s, as in using an A332 for BNE-HND, the frequency of Australian transcontinental flights or Hong Kong flights would have to be reduced. One could argue that less capacity into Hong Kong is beneficial at the moment, for the unfortunate political situation, a real setback for VA’s international conquests. VA could better invest in a route to London via HK with Virgin Atlantic, disrupting the market, yet is unlikely to be profitable, at least in the short term. Asia is the untapped market, which foreign airlines keep tapping into. I think VA should get more A330’s and A321XLR’s, flying to underserved markets such as India or even Kathmandu! A larger fleet would also increase the reliability of its service (on-time performance), as is evident on their flagship international route.

    https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/va1

    • Rod Pickin

      says:

      Hi Patrick I do agree with you in that VA needs more A330’s however, much as I like and have experienced the A321NEO, obviously not the XLR, it most certainly is not the aircraft type any operator of consequence in this country would consider for long haul ops, fine for European ops for the masses running from the cold to the warmer climate of the “Med” region, maybe ok too for ops too ex Oz for Bali but it still remains a single aisle domestic unit albeit with great options. Maybe good for consideration when toying with equipping away from the B737, something I think they should do when the VA budget improves. At the moment, it is not a practical consideration.

  • Patrick

    says:

    I should’ve specified that comment is based upon that VA’s financial situation will improve, as I hope it will. Evidently, acquiring new planes will unlikely occur in the next 2 years at least, but VA’s current fleet of many 737’s and not much else does not suit every market. A 738 on the SYD-DPS route doesn’t come close to the offering on Qantas or Garuda, losing them customers. In hindsight, the A321XLR is better suited to Jetstar and other LCC’s, and all of their narrowbody fleet is Boeing. That said, it will be interesting to see if the MAX situation changes VA’s approach. Ultimately, I think VA has two many unprofitable routes and too limited international operations, that are hence hindering their bottom line and influencing customer satisfaction.

  • stephen Boyce

    says:

    I hope Virgin or ANA considers Melbourne to Haneda as well

  • Phil Baker

    says:

    Would Qantas proposing to switch its Melbourne – Narita flight to Haneda have any chance of approval? It’s my understanding that an airline is only granted rights for flights into Haneda on the condition it maintains its services to Narita, or has this law passed?

    • Phil

      says:

      @Phil Baker I have a feeling those laws have been relaxed since Lufthansa and Delta have withdrawn services from Narita and exclusively stuck with Haneda

  • Shane

    says:

    Wow. After all these years they could have flown to japan and now that Qantas has asked for the 2 new slots Virgin deciders they want one. Get real they could have flown to Narita anytime. They still will make no money.

  • R Heaton

    says:

    Virgin make NO money…. massive debt…. terrible fleet choices (737 max, no 737 max, A330 leaving….. A330 staying), pffft why would Japan want to risk Virgin?

    • Cassandra

      says:

      R Heaton, A330 leaving…. A330 staying is pure hype amongst people who don’t work for the airline. The A330s are not going nor were they ever going. Virgin makes money… just their costs are too big for an airline their size, hence, finally, they’re cost cutting properly under good leadership. They have 1.5b in debt, Qantas have 4b. B737 max is always coming, just delayed 1.5 more years, with an increase in Max10 orders since the Max issues. Smart move, I reckon they got them on a good deal. Virgin is not a risk for Japan. Even if it was, Qantas would take over the slot pretty quickly. No risk at all.

  • Gale

    says:

    It’s a growing airline Shane. After all these years – Virgin has only had widebodies for 10 years with the first few years intended for LAX (and JNB/HKT/AUH) and PER only. An opportunity arose for a highly sought airport, so now’s the time. New strategy and direction enables such opportunities to be part of its growth. It is anticipated they will make money on it, with a good return on initial investment calculated due to the airport location and Olympics, in addition to rising tourism in and out of Japan, and an impoved ANA partnership. Virgin would’ve applied for one slot with the new Haneda offerings regardless of Qantas’ application. Just Qantas only got in first with their application, including one re-route. Virgin won’t make money this financial year but in two years I’m confident they will. Remember Qantas’ problems and restructure in 2014? It happens.

  • George

    says:

    Well said Gale! I’m sure they’ll be fine under their new leadership and his focus. Revenue has increased consecutively, but costs have blown out of control. May take a year or two to get it under control, but they will do it.

  • Red Cee

    says:

    The question remains, will Virgin be ready to commence the service by the end of March 2020?

  • Grant P

    says:

    There’s no remaining question Red Cee, they’ve made it clear they can and will.

  • George

    says:

    It’ll be a bad look if they don’t do it Red Cee, and they know it. That’s why they’ve confirmed they will do it on time. Let’s hope they keep their promise.

Leave a Comment

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Virgin Australia outlines plans for new Brisbane-Tokyo Haneda flights

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 25, 2019
Could Virgin Australia Airbus A330-200s be taking off to Tokyo Haneda? (Seth Jaworski)
Could Virgin Australia Airbus A330-200s be taking off to Tokyo Haneda? (Seth Jaworski)

Virgin Australia is seeking one of the new slots available to Tokyo Haneda airport to launch nonstop flights from Brisbane.

The airline’s application to the International Air Services Commission (IASC) says the new Brisbane-Tokyo Haneda service would be operated by Airbus A330-200 equipment and flown in partnership with Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA).

“The Japan market represents an excellent strategic fit for Virgin Australia, as a destination with a strong growth outlook for both inbound and outbound travel, and which appeals to our leisure and corporate customers alike,” Virgin Australia said in its submission posted on the IASC website on Wednesday.

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Earlier in September, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) allocated a total of four new slot pairs for Australia-Tokyo Haneda routes, comprising two new slot pairs for Japanese carriers – one for All Nippon Airways (ANA) and one for Japan Airlines – and two new slot pairs for Australian carriers.

The allocation was among a package of 50 slot pairs for international services at Tokyo Haneda, with 25 for Japanese airlines and 25 for international carriers.

Also, the slots would be for daytime services – notionally between 0600 and 2255 – as air traffic managers opened up more airspace in the Tokyo area to support the additional flights.

The IASC, which manages Australia’s international traffic rights, said on September 3 it was aiming to allocate the two Tokyo Haneda slots by October 31 2019, in order to enable Australian carriers to begin flights from March 29 2020, the start of the 2020 northern summer scheduling period. It described the deadline as a “tight timeframe”.

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“The new capacity to Haneda provides an excellent opportunity for a new entrant to successfully break into the market and establish a strong position for itself, given the advantages that Haneda enjoys over Narita in terms of convenience and proximity to the Tokyo central business district,” the Virgin Australia submission said.

“An allocation of capacity to Virgin Australia will therefore enable us not just to compete with the Qantas Group and Japan Airlines, but to effectively compete.”

Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways (ANA) aircraft at Tokyo Haneda Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways (ANA) aircraft at Tokyo Haneda Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

Partnership with ANA

Tokyo Haneda Airport had previously been predominantly used by Japanese carriers as a domestic airport. However, there have been efforts to expand the number of international services at Haneda amid a Japanese government push to attract more tourists to the country.

In addition to being much closer to central Tokyo compared with Narita’s location on the eastern side of the city, Haneda also offers a host of potential connections to other destinations in Japan.

Virgin Australia said in its submission its partnership with ANA would include reciprocal code share services on nonstop Australia-Japan routes, as well as on flights within the two carrier’s domestic networks, which would provide a “critical source of passenger feed onto the new flights”.

There would also be reciprocal loyalty benefits for members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity and ANA’s Mileage Club frequent flyer programs, including access to priority checkin, baggage and boarding along with lounge access for eligible members.

“This partnership is an essential element of our strategy to establish a strong position in the Japan market in the future and a key point of difference relative to the proposal by the Qantas Group,” Virgin Australia said in its submission.

The submission noted ANA offered 38 domestic code share connections out of Tokyo Haneda, compared with five at Tokyo Narita.

“Virgin Australia would not be prepared to commence services to Japan if our only option to serve Tokyo was through operations to Narita, as we would not have the ability to leverage our partnership with ANA,” Virgin Australia said.

While Virgin Australia currently does not fly to Japan with its own aircraft, it sells codeshares flights between Australia and five destinations in Japan operated by its alliance partner Singapore Airlines (SIA).

Virgin Australia flies Airbus A330-200s to Hong Kong. (Rob Finlayson)
Virgin Australia flies Airbus A330-200s to Hong Kong. (Rob Finlayson)

Qantas seeking both slots

While Virgin Australia was seeking one slot, its rival Qantas lodged an application to the IASC for both slots, to be used for a second daily Sydney-Haneda flight and to switch its Melbourne-Tokyo Narita service to Haneda.

Qantas said in the submission to the IASC its plans to add flights to Tokyo Haneda did not deny competition from other Australian carriers, noting there was unrestricted capacity for operating into Tokyo Narita and other points in Japan under the current air services agreement between the two countries.

Further, the Flying Kangaroo said it was the “only no risk option” to meet the requirement for the two Tokyo Haneda slots to be utilised from March 29 2020.

Virgin Australia said it was well-placed to begin flights at the start of the northern summer 2020 scheduling season on March 29 2020, having completed an operational feasibility assessment in May 2019 and already held a Permission Certificate/business licence from the Japanese Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

“Any suggestion that Virgin Australia will not be able to launch flights on 29 March 2020, or lacks the commercial capability to set up our services for success in the future, is mere conjecture,” ,” the Virgin Australia submission said.

“Commencing operations to Haneda is a top priority for our business and the project is being delivered in accordance with strict timeframes under the stewardship of a robust governance structure.”

Virgin Australia said in its submission the greatest public benefits was “likely to be realised by splitting the available capacity between itself and Qantas.

“Such an outcome would facilitate increased competition, choice and more capacity than if both daily frequencies were allocated to the Qantas Group as it has requested.”

“It is difficult to understand how an allocation of all the new capacity to Haneda to the Qantas Group, in addition to the one slot to Haneda that it currently holds, would be capable of fostering an environment in which Virgin Australia or any other Australian international carrier would be able to compete effectively on the route in the future.”

Figures in the the Virgin Australia submission showed allocating one slot to Virgin Australia would add between 77,380 and 110,960 more seats on Australia-Japan routes than if both slots were allocated to Qantas.

Figures from the IASC submission.
Figures from Virgin Australia’s submission. (Virgin Australia)

Virgin Australia’s current international network covered 15 destinations split between short-haul routes to New Zealand, the nations of the South Pacific and Denpasar in Indonesia, and long-haul flights to Hong Kong and Los Angeles.

Its widebody fleet sits at 11 aircraft – five Boeing 777-300ERs that are used on flights to Los Angeles from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as six Airbus A330-200s that operate to Hong Kong from Melbourne and Sydney, between Sydney and Nadi, and on nonstop services from Perth to Australia’s east coast capitals.

Currently, there were nine nonstop routes between Australia and Japan operated by four carriers – Sydney-Tokyo Haneda (ANA and Qantas), Sydney-Tokyo Narita (Japan Airlines), Sydney-Osaka Kansai (Qantas), Melbourne-Tokyo Narita (Japan Airlines and Qantas), Brisbane-Tokyo Narita (Qantas), Gold Coast-Tokyo Narita (Jetstar), Cairns-Osaka Kansai (Jetstar), Cairns-Tokyo Narita (Jetstar) and the recently commenced Perth-Tokyo Narita service from ANA.

And there is new capacity coming later in 2019, with Qantas scheduled to operate a seasonal Sydney-Sapporo nonstop flight with Airbus A330 equipment between December 2019 and March 2020.

Virgin Australia wants one Tokyo Haneda slot, while Qantas is seeking two. (Rob Finlayson)
Virgin Australia wants one Tokyo Haneda slot, while Qantas is seeking two. (Rob Finlayson)

25% off starts now! Australian Aviation magazine Cyber Monday sale is now live. Have the very best of Australian Aviation’s annual print and digital subscription. This includes every In Focus and Behind the Lens digital magazine, special coverage, exclusive photos and editions you may have miss. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

19 Comments

  • Phil

    says:

    The question is now if qantas only gets one slot would they launch the MEL-HND flights or go for the second daily SYD-HND. What qantas should do is launch the MEL-HND flights and perhaps JAL could do the second SYD-HND flight.

  • Scott

    says:

    Great proposal, the ANA case RE connections at Haneda 38 vs Narita 5, is strong and compelling.
    Fantastic opportunity for Virgins Australian and ANA’s Japanese passengers with the codeshare arrangements.

  • Rod Pickin

    says:

    Well done VOZ, a positive move, a huge market in this region awaits

    • Shane

      says:

      Why now? They had plenty of time before to fly to Japan.

  • Craigy

    says:

    Virgin flying Brisbane – Haneda isn’t adding competition to the Qantas Group and Japan Airlines because they would be the only carrier on the route. Adding competition would be if they flew Brisbane to Narita where they would be competing with Qantas.
    Reading between the lines suggests that Virgin are saying they can only make money if they fly into Haneda.

  • Patrick

    says:

    I think what VA really needs is more A330’s, or better still A321XLR’s, as in using an A332 for BNE-HND, the frequency of Australian transcontinental flights or Hong Kong flights would have to be reduced. One could argue that less capacity into Hong Kong is beneficial at the moment, for the unfortunate political situation, a real setback for VA’s international conquests. VA could better invest in a route to London via HK with Virgin Atlantic, disrupting the market, yet is unlikely to be profitable, at least in the short term. Asia is the untapped market, which foreign airlines keep tapping into. I think VA should get more A330’s and A321XLR’s, flying to underserved markets such as India or even Kathmandu! A larger fleet would also increase the reliability of its service (on-time performance), as is evident on their flagship international route.

    https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/va1

    • Rod Pickin

      says:

      Hi Patrick I do agree with you in that VA needs more A330’s however, much as I like and have experienced the A321NEO, obviously not the XLR, it most certainly is not the aircraft type any operator of consequence in this country would consider for long haul ops, fine for European ops for the masses running from the cold to the warmer climate of the “Med” region, maybe ok too for ops too ex Oz for Bali but it still remains a single aisle domestic unit albeit with great options. Maybe good for consideration when toying with equipping away from the B737, something I think they should do when the VA budget improves. At the moment, it is not a practical consideration.

  • Patrick

    says:

    I should’ve specified that comment is based upon that VA’s financial situation will improve, as I hope it will. Evidently, acquiring new planes will unlikely occur in the next 2 years at least, but VA’s current fleet of many 737’s and not much else does not suit every market. A 738 on the SYD-DPS route doesn’t come close to the offering on Qantas or Garuda, losing them customers. In hindsight, the A321XLR is better suited to Jetstar and other LCC’s, and all of their narrowbody fleet is Boeing. That said, it will be interesting to see if the MAX situation changes VA’s approach. Ultimately, I think VA has two many unprofitable routes and too limited international operations, that are hence hindering their bottom line and influencing customer satisfaction.

  • stephen Boyce

    says:

    I hope Virgin or ANA considers Melbourne to Haneda as well

  • Phil Baker

    says:

    Would Qantas proposing to switch its Melbourne – Narita flight to Haneda have any chance of approval? It’s my understanding that an airline is only granted rights for flights into Haneda on the condition it maintains its services to Narita, or has this law passed?

    • Phil

      says:

      @Phil Baker I have a feeling those laws have been relaxed since Lufthansa and Delta have withdrawn services from Narita and exclusively stuck with Haneda

  • Shane

    says:

    Wow. After all these years they could have flown to japan and now that Qantas has asked for the 2 new slots Virgin deciders they want one. Get real they could have flown to Narita anytime. They still will make no money.

  • R Heaton

    says:

    Virgin make NO money…. massive debt…. terrible fleet choices (737 max, no 737 max, A330 leaving….. A330 staying), pffft why would Japan want to risk Virgin?

    • Cassandra

      says:

      R Heaton, A330 leaving…. A330 staying is pure hype amongst people who don’t work for the airline. The A330s are not going nor were they ever going. Virgin makes money… just their costs are too big for an airline their size, hence, finally, they’re cost cutting properly under good leadership. They have 1.5b in debt, Qantas have 4b. B737 max is always coming, just delayed 1.5 more years, with an increase in Max10 orders since the Max issues. Smart move, I reckon they got them on a good deal. Virgin is not a risk for Japan. Even if it was, Qantas would take over the slot pretty quickly. No risk at all.

  • Gale

    says:

    It’s a growing airline Shane. After all these years – Virgin has only had widebodies for 10 years with the first few years intended for LAX (and JNB/HKT/AUH) and PER only. An opportunity arose for a highly sought airport, so now’s the time. New strategy and direction enables such opportunities to be part of its growth. It is anticipated they will make money on it, with a good return on initial investment calculated due to the airport location and Olympics, in addition to rising tourism in and out of Japan, and an impoved ANA partnership. Virgin would’ve applied for one slot with the new Haneda offerings regardless of Qantas’ application. Just Qantas only got in first with their application, including one re-route. Virgin won’t make money this financial year but in two years I’m confident they will. Remember Qantas’ problems and restructure in 2014? It happens.

  • George

    says:

    Well said Gale! I’m sure they’ll be fine under their new leadership and his focus. Revenue has increased consecutively, but costs have blown out of control. May take a year or two to get it under control, but they will do it.

  • Red Cee

    says:

    The question remains, will Virgin be ready to commence the service by the end of March 2020?

  • Grant P

    says:

    There’s no remaining question Red Cee, they’ve made it clear they can and will.

  • George

    says:

    It’ll be a bad look if they don’t do it Red Cee, and they know it. That’s why they’ve confirmed they will do it on time. Let’s hope they keep their promise.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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