ANA continues to grow its international route map, announcing last week that it will launch service to Sydney, Australia from its hub at Tokyo’s Haneda airport in December 2015. The new service will be operated by the carrier’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft in a 3-class configuration (48 Business, 21 Premium Economy, 146 Economy) and will fly as an overnight trip in both directions. Tickets are expected to go on sale in August 2015.
The new service represents the resumption of flights between the two countries after a 15+ year hiatus. It also will be the 4th new international destination launched by ANA in 2015. The carrier is working to restructure its operations and increase international traffic and revenues significantly, targeting 50% growth in the coming decade.
A major factor in that growth is the ability to move passengers across the carrier’s hub at Haneda airport. Haneda is more convenient for access to Tokyo and serves a much larger portion of the domestic traffic for ANA. Over the past few years, as international traffic volume has grown, Haneda has also become a key long-haul international gateway, though it still faces some challenges on that front. Because of restrictions on landing slots and flight times times for certain destinations much of the connecting flow via Haneda remains domestic-to-international rather than international-to-international. This does limit the volume of connecting passengers somewhat, though the total volume of passengers – roughly 70 million annually – means there is still plenty of feed to go around.
Adding Australia service brings ANA into competition with Qantas and JAL, both of which are members of the oneworld alliance. Qantas is shifting its Sydney-Tokyo service to Haneda from Narita at the end of this month and also adding a second route, Brisbane-Narita, at the beginning of August. The JAL service will remain at Narita and continue as a day-time flight north-bound. That scheduling reduces idle time on the ground in Australia for the airplane but also potentially limits demand. With its partner Qantas offering the overnight flight that is mitigated somewhat.
Japan continues to grow as a tourism destination for Australians. Tourism Australia suggests that it is the 2nd most desired destination for Japanese visitors. In both cases the limited flight options between the two countries have restricted some of that traffic. The addition of 80,000 new ANA seats annually (and the new Qantas flight) should help to solve that problem.
And, for members of the ANA Mileage Club or its Star Alliance member partners this new route should be most welcome. It adds another way to connect in to Australia, either on a revenue ticket or an award.
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