VA Haneda bid backed
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.