All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines have announced plans to add new flights between Tokyo Haneda Airport and Sydney from March 2020.
Both Japanese carriers have used a recent allocation of slot pairs from the country’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) to add more international services at Tokyo Haneda, which is located closer to Tokyo city than Tokyo Narita.
All up, ANA received 13.5 slots and Japan Airlines 11.5 slots, while 25 slot pairs went to international carriers.
Both Japanese carriers received one slot for flights to Australia.
ANA said it would used the slot to boost its current daily service between Sydney and Tokyo Haneda to double daily.
“There is growing demand to visit Japan, and ANA will increase its international service just as Haneda Airport also expands to adapt for inbound Japanese tourism,” said ANA senior vice president Seiichi Takahashi said in a statement.
“These new routes will increase the ease and convenience for passengers flying to Japan from across the world, a significant benefit of our dual hub strategy.”
Meanwhile, Japan Airlines said it would switch its current Sydney-Tokyo Narita nonstop flight to Tokyo Haneda.
“The expansion of these new services at Tokyo’s metropolitan airports will provide convenient options to our business and leisure customers in Japan and throughout the world,” Japan Airlines managing executive officer for international route marketing Tetsuya Onuki said in a statement.
“With the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, we look forward to serving our valued customers through Tokyo`s Haneda and Narita airports, while providing a seamless travel experience.”
The new services would increase the number of Sydney-Tokyo Haneda flights a day to four – two from ANA, one from Japan Airlines and one from Qantas.
There could also be a fifth flight from the end of March 2020, as Qantas was yet to announce what route to use the one additional slot it has been allocated for Australia-Tokyo Haneda services.
Qantas has said previously it was considering adding a second Sydney-Tokyo Haneda service or switching its Melbourne-Tokyo Narita flight to Haneda.
Meanwhile, Virgin Australia planned to use its one slot to launch flights from Brisbane to Tokyo Haneda from the end of March 2020.
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.
At the recent World Routes conference in Adelaide, Hawaiian Airlines senior vice president for revenue management and network planning Brent Overbeek offered an insight into the benefits of serving Tokyo Haneda.
“For us what it really represents is better connectivity into domestic Japan. A little bit into Asia, but moreso domestic Japan,” Overbeek said during a question-and-answer session on September 22.
“So much of the Japan domestic market is concentrated in Haneda. Having access to that is really important to us.”
And while Narita’s distance from central Tokyo is often cited as a reason why airlines preferred to fly into Haneda, Overbeek said the land transport options have improved greatly over the years.
“In some respects Narita may get a little bit of a bum rap,” Overbeek said.
“I remember when it was early in my career and I would travel to Japan I remember getting off a 12-hour flight from Dallas and landing going ‘oh my gosh now I’ve got to plod into the city’.
“Frankly now with rail and everything you can in pretty quickly. So I think there is a psychological element of distance that Haneda’s proximity helps with.”