Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) has announced that it has pushed back the return of its Western Australia service to October 2023.
The airline began flying between Tokyo-Narita and Perth in 2019, but had to cancel the service due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
The service was expected to return early this year, with ANA having plans to activate new codeshare routes to and from Perth with Virgin Australia back in December 2022.
However, it seems that it has been pushed back, with Perth kept off the airlines Northern Summer Schedule. Instead, it has been featured on the Winter Schedule, which begins at the end of October.
The first flight following the return of the service is set to take place on October 29.
As a result, those in WA looking to travel to Japan with ANA will have to first travel to Sydney.
The relaunched service will use the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, running three times a week. The aircraft features lie-down business class seats, as well as a premium economy section.
With the launch of the service, ANA is looking to strengthen ties with Virgin Australia, saying that both companies have the goal of being the connection between Australia and Japan.
“We are delighted to welcome passengers with the mutual goal of both airlines serving as the bridge between Australia and Japan with the highest levels of customer service and offering unique customer experiences in the two countries,” said ANA EVP of Alliances and International Affairs, Mr. Junichiro Miyagawa.
The partnership is likely to allow Virgin Frequent Flyers to earn Velocity points on certain ANA flights, as well as sharing other perks such as sharing airport lounges, and benefits based on membership level.
According to Virgin Australia, these will launch throughout the year.
“Virgin Australia has also announced it will strengthen its partnership with All Nippon Airways (ANA), with expanded codeshare services and reciprocal loyalty benefits to be implemented throughout 2023,” it said in a release last year.
Virgin Australia are pushing travel to Japan heavily, having previously launched the “first ever Cairns-Haneda Japan service”, which will be operated using a Boeing 737-8.