Virgin Australia to commence Brisbane to Haneda,Tokyo flights from March 29, 2020

Virgin Australia has announced it will commence daily flights on its new Brisbane to Tokyo- Haneda route from March 29, with tickets going on sale next month.

The airline will operate a morning flight from Brisbane and an overnight flight from Tokyo. It will fly its Airbus A330-200 on its Brisbane-Haneda route, with 20 business class seats and 255 economy seats, including eight Economy X seats.

Virgin's A330 features its award-winning business class cabin which has been named the best business class cabin for 2018 and 2017 by airlineratings.com.

The new route marks the first time an Australian airline will operate flights between Brisbane and Tokyo-Haneda. Jetstar currently operates direct flights out of Cairns to Tokyo-Narita and Qantas operates direct flights from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to Tokyo-Narita and Sydney to Tokyo-Haneda.

Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah said the flights were "a real milestone both for Virgin Australia and Queensland, as we become the first airline to connect Brisbane to the closest and most convenient airport in Tokyo."

Haneda Airport is significantly closer to central Tokyo than the larger Narita, which takes more than an hour to reach by express train. 

Virgin Australia will codeshare with Japan's major airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) which will service connecting domestic flights from Haneda to more than 35 destinations in Japan.

Japan is an increasingly popular destination for Australian travellers, with the country experiencing a boom in tourists over the past 10 years. The number of Australian visitors has surged from 150,000 in 2009 to 486,000 in the 12 months to July this year - an increase of 324 per cent. Japan has also consistently rated as the top destination on Traveller.com.au in the past five years.

The announcement was delivered by Sir Richard Branson at a press event in Brisbane Airport where a carousel was transformed into a giant sushi train, featuring novelty sushi items and Sir Richard himself.

The announcement follows wide media coverage of Virgin Australia group managing director and CEO Paul Scurrah's plans to change Virgin Australia finances following six years of losses, including axing its direct Melbourne to Hong Kong route in February next year, with a broader aim of shifting Virgin Australia away from China to Japan. The airline's Sydney to Hong Kong route, which launched in July 2018, remains in operation.

See also: Virgin Australia opens new lounge at Brisbane Airport

See also: The top 20 things to do in Tokyo

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