VA Haneda bid backed

Travel Daily - - Front Page -

STAKE­HOLD­ERS have come out strongly in favour of Vir­gin Aus­tralia’s ap­pli­ca­tion for ca­pac­ity on the Ja­pan route, with a num­ber of sub­mis­sions to the In­ter­na­tional Air Ser­vices Com­mis­sion (IASC) urg­ing ap­proval of VA flights from Bris­bane to Tokyo Haneda air­port.

Both Vir­gin and Qan­tas have ap­plied for new slots which have been opened up by a re­vised air ser­vices agree­ment (TD 17 Sep,

TD 18 Sep), with the op­por­tu­nity to op­er­ate to Haneda dur­ing day­light hours de­scribed as a “once in a life­time op­por­tu­nity”.

Tourism Aus­tralia, the ACCC, the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment and Bris­bane Air­port Cor­po­ra­tion are all sup­port­ing Vir­gin’s bid, with re­cently ap­pointed Tourism Aus­tralia MD Phillipa Har­ri­son say­ing al­lo­cat­ing a daily fre­quency to VA would en­able a fourth air­line to en­ter the Ja­pan route.

This would bring “a new source of com­pe­ti­tion which would de­liver sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits for trav­ellers, boost­ing tourism flows be­tween the two coun­tries”.

The ACCC GM Ad­ju­di­ca­tion David Jones said al­lo­cat­ing one fre­quency to each car­rier “would pro­mote com­pe­ti­tion to a much greater ex­tent than al­lo­cat­ing both fre­quen­cies to Qan­tas”.

Qld Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral Damien Walker high­lighted Bris­bane hasn’t seen new ca­pac­ity from Ja­pan since Qan­tas com­menced daily ser­vices in 2015, adding that VA would “max­imise the op­por­tu­nity to boost tourism and trade flows be­tween Aus­tralia & Ja­pan”.

Bris­bane Air­port Cor­po­ra­tion said fur­ther ac­cess for Aus­tralian car­ri­ers at Tokyo Haneda was un­likely for the fore­see­able fu­ture, adding that “the im­por­tance of Qld as a draw­card for Ja­pan tourism visi­ta­tion & trade can­not be over­stated”.

Qan­tas de­fended its re­quest for two fre­quen­cies per day, stat­ing it was the “only no-risk op­tion” and would de­liver “op­er­a­tional cer­tainty and more ca­pac­ity com­pared to the pro­posal out­lined by Vir­gin Aus­tralia”.

The IASC is cur­rently con­sid­er­ing the VA and QF ap­pli­ca­tions.

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