Japan’s ANA will begin direct flights between Sydney and Tokyo this week, and the airline already has its eye on Perth as a potential second Australian route.
“We want to fly to other destinations in Australia” attests Osamu Shinobe, President and CEO of ANA, speaking with Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of a meeting of Star Alliance airlines in Chicago.
Shinobe named Perth as a likely next stop for the airline’s expanded “Oceania network” should Sydney-Tokyo prove to be a success. ANA competitor and Qantas partner Japan Airlines is also considering a Perth-Tokyo service.
Initial bookings on ANA’s Sydney Boeing 787 flight, which feeds into the airline’s near-city Haneda hub, are “solid” and contain a higher number of business travellers than ANA’s previous flights, which the airline axed in 1999 and which Shinobe described as “a failure, in hindsight.”
“Demand was more for leisure and also most (passengers) were Japanese” Shinobe explained to Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of this week's meeting of Star Alliance airlines in Chicago.
However, Shinobe says a “surge in economic activity between Australia and Japan” has tipped the scale in favour of Australian travellers as well as the more-profitable business class seats.
The new Sydney flight has also been designed around an early morning arrival into Tokyo’s Haneda airport to maximise connections “anywhere they want within Japan and also to Europe as well.”
David Flynn travelled to Chicago as a guest of Star Alliance
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT