Flying kangaroo takes off again between Brisbane and Tokyo

Queensland is gearing up for an influx of new visitors from Japan just in time for the summer holidays with the return of Qantas flights between Brisbane and Tokyo.

The flight establishes the first direct connection between Brisbane and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport by any airline, replacing Qantas’ former service to Narita Airport, and will save travellers more than an hour commuting into Tokyo city on arrival.

Inbound flights on the route are timed to connect well with the rest of Qantas’ Australian domestic network, including popular destinations across Queensland, reopening tourism opportunities for the Sunshine State.

Qantas Regional General Manager for Asia, John Simeone, said the flights will boost tourism and revive business opportunities between Australia and Japan.

“Pre-COVID, Japan was one of the most popular destinations for Australian travellers and we’re seeing the demand for Tokyo bounce back strongly,” said Mr Simeone.

“The new flight from Brisbane into Haneda Airport gives our customers much easier and faster access to downtown Tokyo and one of the world’s most important business markets, saving more than an hour of transit time in getting to the city.

“Qantas has a long history of serving the Japanese market and in fact later this month we’ll be celebrating 75 years of flying between Australia and Japan. We’re pleased to build on this legacy by connecting Japanese travellers to the Sunshine State once again.”

The resumption of Brisbane-Tokyo flights also provides Australian producers in the region with more cargo space on Qantas’ freight network for the export of fresh produce such as chilled meat, seafood, dairy, fruit and vegetables.

Qantas’ direct flight from Tokyo Haneda to Brisbane is supported by Queensland’s $200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund in partnership with the State’s four international airports.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Japan was an important part of Queensland’s recovery plan for inbound international tourism.

“Every year, Qantas direct from Haneda will land 46,460 seats in Brisbane and deliver more opportunities for Japanese visitors to enjoy Queensland’s great lifestyle,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“We know Japanese visitors love our iconic, world-class visitor experiences and with return travel becoming much easier, we’re excited to welcome travellers from Japan back to the Queensland sunshine.

“Before the pandemic, Japan was one Queensland tourism’s top five nations for overseas holiday arrivals and visitor spending.

“Direct Qantas flights from Tokyo Haneda will potentially generate $41 million a year for Brisbane’s visitor economy and support 400 good Queensland jobs.”

Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff said that the new flights would play an important role in supporting local business and tourism operations.

“This is a milestone day for BNE. We are delighted to see the return of flights between Tokyo and Brisbane Airport, boosting one of Queensland’s most important tourism markets. These Qantas services will bring more visitors, students on working holidays and business travellers to Brisbane, while generating valuable opportunities for Queensland exporters.”

Qantas will fly its Airbus A330 aircraft, with Business Suites and lie-flat beds, from Brisbane to Tokyo three days per week on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, offering more than 1,700 seats on the route each week.

The Qantas Group operates more than 20 return flights per week from Australia to Japan. This includes Qantas’ flights from Brisbane to Tokyo Haneda and Sydney to Tokyo Haneda.

Qantas flights between Melbourne and Tokyo Haneda will resume in March 2023. The Group’s low-fares airline, Jetstar, operates flights from Cairns to Tokyo Narita and Osaka, and Gold Coast to Tokyo Narita.

Customers travelling to other destinations across Japan can connect through Haneda to domestic services operated by Qantas’ partner JAL.

A HISTORY OF QANTAS IN JAPAN

1920 W.H Fysh and P.J McGinness establish Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services, abbreviated to Qantas.

1947 On 18 December, Qantas’ inaugural flight to Japan arrives in Hofu in Yamaguchi from Sydney carrying six passengers and 1,200 pounds of mail. The flight takes 27 hours and 21 minutes from Sydney using a Lancastrian aircraft.

1948 Qantas starts to operate a service to Haneda.

1952 Qantas starts to operate a twice weekly service between Tokyo and Sydney.

1959 Lockheed Electra operates between Tokyo and Sydney taking 18 hours 51 minutes.

1961 Qantas introduces a weekly service between Tokyo and Sydney on a Boeing 707-138B. Travelling time was reduced to 13 hours 51 minutes.

1967 Company name changes from Qantas Empire Airways to Qantas Airways Limited.

1973 Qantas commences a non-stop service between Tokyo and Sydney on a new Boeing 707-338.

1978 Tokyo New International Airport (Narita) opens. Qantas moves its base in Japan from Haneda to Narita.

1987 Qantas adds Nagoya to the network.

1994 Osaka Kansai airport opens on 4 September. Qantas commences Kansai-Brisbane-Sydney services five times per week. The inaugural flight to Kansai was operated by Boeing 747-400 Wunala Dreaming.

2015 Qantas launches two new services between Japan and Australia on 1 August: between Haneda and Sydney, and Narita and Brisbane.

2016 Qantas launches a new service between Narita and Melbourne on 16 December.

2017 Qantas launches a new service between Osaka and Sydney on 14 December.

2017 Qantas celebrates 70 years of flying between Australia and Japan on 18 December.

2019 Qantas launches new seasonal flights to Sapporo.

2022 Qantas launches new flights between Brisbane and Haneda.

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