Virgin says it’s ready to start Japan services late March

first_imgVirgin Australia Airbus A330 business class Virgin Australia says it will be ready to begin services to Japan on March 29  if it is given one of two daily landing slots available at Tokyo’s Haneda airport.The airline plans to use an A330-200 to start the new Brisbane-Haneda daily service and says preparations have been underway for many months.It would partner with All Nippon Airways, giving it a good foothold in the market.But here’s an obstacle: rival Qantas has put in a bid for both slots.Virgin argued in its submission to the International Air Services Commission that its new service had the potential to deliver “significant and sustained benefits for travelers and Australian exporters, boosting tourism and trade flows between the two countries”.READ: Jetstar pulls out of regional New Zealand“The Japan market represents an excellent strategic fit for Virgin Australia, as a destination with a strong growth outlook for both inbound and outbound travel and which appeals to our leisure and corporate customers alike,’’ it said.“The greatest public benefits are likely to be realized by splitting the available capacity between Virgin Australia and the Qantas Group.“Such an outcome would facilitate increased competition, choice and more capacity than if both daily frequencies were allocated to the Qantas Group as it has requested.“This would create intense competition between ourselves, the Qantas Group and the other carriers serving the route, thereby promoting the object of the International Air Services Commission Act 1992.”Virgin said it would add 200,750 seats to the Japan route, injecting up to 110,960 more seats than the Qantas proposal, and the entry of a fourth airline group would place downward pressure on airfaresThe partnership with ANA includes plans for reciprocal codeshare services on sectors between and within Australia and Japan.Virgin said this provided the best opportunity for dispersal of Japanese visitors between the eastern and western seaboards, given ANA was the only airline offering flights between Perth and Tokyo.It would also allow it to offer “new and enhanced product and services” on the route including in-flight wi-fi and a better checked baggage allowance than Qantas.The airline rejected as unfounded any suggestion it would not be able to start services by March, noting it has strong incentives to make sure that happens.“Given we have already announced our intention to serve Haneda, we would sustain significant reputational damage if we did not commence flights on time,’’ it said.“In addition, we are investing substantial funds in establishing the new route which would be foregone if the capacity was not utilized. “last_img

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