Virgin Australia set for Tokyo in win over Qantas

Australia

Virgin said it will use the slot to launch a daily service out of Brisbane using A330-200 aircraft starting on March 29, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in July.

“We can’t wait to provide guests with the best value fares and our unique Virgin experience to Japan,” a Virgin spokeswoman said on Monday.

The announcement of the new route comes as Virgin’s boss Paul Scurrah undertakes a complete review of its network to try to improve the struggling carrier’s financial performance.

Qantas already flies from Sydney to Haneda, but its services from Melbourne and Brisbane land at Tokyo’s other airport, Narita, which is significantly further from the city centre.

Qantas wanted both of the new slots to move its flight from Melbourne from Narita to Haneda and to add another daily flight between Haneda and Sydney. A spokesman said on Monday Qantas would confirm soon how it will use its one new slot.

Virgin has, meanwhile, signed a partnership with Japan’s largest airline, All Nippon Airways (ANA), which will see it code-share on flights between the two countries and on connecting domestic flights.

Qantas, including low-cost arm Jetstar, and its alliance partner Japan Airlines (JAL) currently have a 91 per cent market share of travellers flying directly between Australia and Japan and operate 90 per cent of the capacity, according to Department of Infrastructure data.

The IASC will take further submissions before reaching a final decision.

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