The number of visitors to Australia from Japan grew by 17% in the 2015/16 financial year, with those travellers spending A$1.5 billion – up 14% on the previous year. Outbound travel by Australians to Japan is also growing rapidly, having seen a 24% increase in 2015.
The new route will be operated by an upgraded, two-class A330-300 with 297 seats – the aircraft widely seen as best in class for the business market.
The route adds to Qantas’ Sydney-Tokyo (Haneda) and Brisbane-Tokyo (Narita) services, launched in 2015, and will connect travellers with the broader Qantas Group network – including Jetstar’s extensive domestic network within Japan and the Group’s services across the Tasman.
Qantas and Jetstar will both operate flights from Melbourne to Tokyo (Narita) during the December 2016-February 2017 holiday peak. Jetstar will then cease flights on the direct route 25 February, 2017. Jetstar continues to operate direct international services from the Gold Coast and Cairns in Queensland, Australia to Tokyo (Narita) and from Cairns to Osaka.
Chief Executive Officer of Qantas International and Freight, Gareth Evans, said the new service built on Qantas’ long history of flying to Japan and significant expansion in the market over the past year. “We’re delighted to be stepping up our commitment to the Japanese market at a boom time for tourism and business travel,” Evans said.
“The Qantas Group is perfectly placed to support the resurgent growth we’re seeing, with the biggest Australia-Japan network, the biggest domestic network in Australia, and the biggest low-cost carrier network in Japan through Jetstar.
“Our dual-brand strategy and the size of our fleet means we have the ability to move quickly to meet demand where it’s strongest, putting the right aircraft on the right route. We have received great feedback on the world-class product we’ve created for our Airbus A330 fleet, and now even more customers flying to Japan will be able to enjoy the reconfigured aircraft.
“We lifted Qantas’ capacity on Asian routes by 17% last financial year, so this is very much part of a larger pivot to Asia.”
Fares for Qantas’ new Melbourne-Tokyo (Narita) service are available for sale today for travel from 16 December 2016.
Existing customers booked on Qantas’ Sydney-Tokyo (Haneda) and Brisbane-Tokyo (Narita) services who want to change their flight to the new Melbourne-Tokyo (Narita) direct service can contact Qantas customer care.
Jetstar customers who are booked on Melbourne-Tokyo (Narita) flights from 26 February, 2017 onwards will be re-accommodated on Qantas’ Melbourne-Tokyo (Narita) flights.
QANTAS SCHEDULE (effective 16 December 2016; no service on 24, 25 and 31 December)
*Subject to government and regulatory approvals.