With Japan hosting the 2020 Olympics, it is no surprise that locals are gearing up to welcome a wealth of visitors – and airlines from around the world have jumped at the opportunity to launch fares into the country.
Qantas has announced they will become the first Australian airline to launch non-stop flights between Melbourne and Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport, which will operate daily from 29 March 2020 – a shift that will replace the airline’s existing service between Melbourne and Tokyo’s Narita International Airport.
According to Qantas, who announced the new route in April, the new route to Haneda airport will save passengers around one hour in commuting time to the city, which will be a welcomed at a time when Japan expects around 40 million tourists to Tokyo during the 2020 Olympic Games.
“Japan is arguably the most in demand plane in the world to visit in 2020 and our new flights will make it even more convenient to travel there from Australia,” Qantas International CEO Tino Le Spina said.
“The number of Australians travelling to Japan has more than doubled over the past five years, with more than 500,000 Australians visiting Japan in the last 12 months alone.
“We expect that the new Haneda service to be particularly popular with business travellers, who will save more than an hour of transit time in getting to the city.”
Companies, such as lastminute.com, are forecasting a rise in bookings to Japan, with the online travel agency revealing its bookings have already increased 49 per cent in 2019 year on year, according to Forbes.
“In 2020, Japan is set to welcome 40 million tourists as Tokyo holds the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in the summer,” Culture Trip said in a statement.
On Monday, Qantas launched their new seasonal flights from Sydney to Sapporo, which coincides with the country’s busy ski season.
Operating three times per week during the 2020-21 ski season, the route will offer 10,000 seats to the region.
Flights to Japan has become hot property for airlines this year, with Virgin Australia also winning its bid to fly passengers to Japan for the first time.
In October, the International Air Services Commission granted the Aussie carrier a slot at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, allowing it to launch daily services between Brisbane and Tokyo-Haneda from March 29, 2020.
“We’re excited that travellers will now be able to make the most of our competitive airfares, award-winning service and fabulous Virgin flair on flights to and from Japan,” an airline spokeswoman told news.com.au.
“It’s about time someone brought competition to the monopoly market between Brisbane and Tokyo, and we couldn’t think of a better airline to do just that.”
Virgin Australia’s flights between Brisbane and Tokyo will be serviced by an Airbus 330-200. Tokyo Haneda will become Virgin Australia’s 13th international destination from Brisbane, which is the most international departures out of Brisbane of any airline.
Jetstar, Japan Airlines, and All Nippon Airways also fly direct between Australia and Tokyo.