Qantas to launch year-round Sydney-Osaka flights

Qantas to launch year-round Sydney-Osaka flights

Qantas will launch year-round flights between Sydney and Osaka's Kansai Airport, extending the previously-announced three month seasonal service, as travel between Australia and Japan continues to boom.

Starting December 14 2017 there'll be three flights per week in each direction using an Airbus A330 aircraft fitted with the airline's latest Business Suites in business class.

That provides passengers at the pointy end will fully-flat beds and direct aisle access from every seat, along with plenty of storage space and ample room to work during the day.

AusBT review: Qantas Airbus A330 Business Suite business class

Qantas flight QF33 will depart Sydney at 9:30am on Thursdays and Saturdays to reach Osaka at 5:25pm, while on Mondays, passengers will leave Sydney at a more leisurely 1:25pm for a 9:20pm touchdown in Osaka.

On the return, QF34 is wheels-up at 6:55pm on Thursdays and Saturdays ahead of a 6:45am arrival into Sydney the following morning. On Mondays, that's pushed to a 10:50pm departure out of Osaka for a 10:40am arrival in Sydney the next calendar day.

However, from 26 March 2018 the Thursday service will change to Wednesday, resulting in a weekly schedule of Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Business class passengers, Gold and Platinum frequent flyers and Qantas Club members will enjoy access to the international Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge in Osaka before their flight home (pictured below)...

... with Qantas' international business class lounge in Sydney also opening its doors to these travellers before Osaka-bound flights, with Platinum members enjoying access to Sydney's Qantas First Lounge as usual.

These flights can also be booked using Qantas Points (subject to reward availability), with many flights having three business class reward seats available and the majority having nine or more economy seats open for booking using points.

A business class return trip will set you back 144,000 Qantas Points plus $515.42 in taxes and fees, while in economy, that's reduced to 70,000 Qantas Points plus $335.42 in taxes and fees – although Qantas' current economy sale fares of $699 return may prove better value than using points if flying down the back.

The news follows Qantas' launch of year-round Melbourne-Tokyo flights in December 2016 and Brisbane-Tokyo flights in August 2015, complementing the airline's long-running Sydney-Tokyo route and making the Qantas the only airline flying non-stop between Sydney and Osaka.

Qantas' Oneworld partner Japan Airlines also offers Sydney-Tokyo flights and will begin Melbourne-Tokyo flights in September, while the Roo's low-cost arm Jetstar flies to Osaka from Cairns in North Queensland and to Tokyo's Narita Airport from both Cairns and the Gold Coast.

This article was updated on September 14 2017 to reflect the shift from seasonal to year-round flights.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin (ChrisCh)

[email protected] / @ChamberlinChris

Australian Business Traveller journalist Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

19 Comments

  • peteshep

    peteshep

    27 Jul, 2017 11:42 am

    At that time of year wouldn't it be better to fly to Sapporo? The number of people transferring from QF and JQ flights to onwards flights to Sapporo is huge. Getting in so late in the day also makes it difficult to connect, even landing at 5:25pm, let alone 9:20pm.
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  • Angus  Coventry

    Covo95

    27 Jul, 2017 12:54 pm

    there should be seasonal flights to sapporo, maybe utilise the 747 that sits in haneda all day. 
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  • RK

    Ryan K

    27 Jul, 2017 05:04 pm

    That's a big plane to use on a short intra-Japan hop! They'd need a lot of bums on seats.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    27 Jul, 2017 07:40 pm

    QF would not be allowed to carry domestic traffic and would only be able to carry connecting traffic from international flights. All the nearby international ports that could serve to feed a QF TYO-CTS flight already have flights to CTS, so QF would be limited to just traffic from AU/NZ, which isn't enough to fill a daily 747, and with CTS being primarily tourist, there isn't enough $$ in it to make the route worth it.

    QF is much better off connecting to CTS via JL and GK.
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  • Tancho

    Tancho

    27 Jul, 2017 01:30 pm

    I agree, seasonal direct flights to Sapporo seem to be like hens teeth. With stopover connections etc, what should be an 11ish hour flight easily turns into 15+ hours. I would think the winter traffic would warrant a direct flight.
    Osaka also isn't too hard to get to via Tokyo, a lot more options and cost/time effective ways of getting there.
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  • afloskar

    afloskar

    27 Jul, 2017 02:24 pm

    And again they choose sydney instead of brisbane or melbourne. Great national airline
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  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    27 Jul, 2017 02:40 pm

    Yes, how dare Qantas choose a route with the greatest likelihood of being profitable, based on numbers and traffic and research which we don't have access to instead of a much smaller market like Brisbane-Osaka or Adelaide-Osaka, or Tamworth-Osaka.
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  • Andy H

    Andy H

    27 Jul, 2017 03:20 pm

    I don't necessarily mean the BNE, MEL to Osaka route it will probably work but why not seasonally try a BNE-Phuket or something interesting
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  • Patricka340

    Patricka340

    27 Jul, 2017 03:56 pm

    I don't think QF would be in business if they just started routes on the basis of being "interesting". 
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    David

  • aklrunway

    aklrunway

    27 Jul, 2017 06:06 pm

    I find Sydney - Osaka incredibly interesting and exciting. Brisbane - Phuket bores me...
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    DGP

  • Richard Burgess

    richard89

    14 Sep, 2017 03:07 pm

    tamworth hahah - point taken!
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  • Therealtimsmith

    Therealtimsmith

    27 Jul, 2017 02:45 pm

    The irony is that, looking at the Japanese market, Qantas literally just chose Brisbane and Melbourne on their Japanese routes to Tokyo. I don't think you can fault them for testing 3 seasonal Osaka flights from the largest city and main hub.

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  • afloskar

    afloskar

    27 Jul, 2017 06:26 pm

    Yeah you are correct. Sorry for the stupid comments made by me up the top.
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  • Melbzone

    henry_168

    27 Jul, 2017 02:30 pm

    It's about time! Osaka KIX rocks! Just came back last week.  Sadly, always depart from SYD and not MEL direct.  I rather go with SQ, CX or JL then.  Useless to go through SYD which means I have to fly domestic at 6am (getting up at 3am and reach domestic airport check in at least 3 hours before for international connecting flights in SYD) to Sydney then transit on to KIX (arriving 9:20pm) - crazy!  For your information, it takes at least 30 mins to clear customs and pick up luggage and at least an hour to travel on the road between KIX airport and Osaka City (depends where you want to be Umeda or Namba)!  The entire trip for any non Sydneysiders, would be about 16-18 hours with no delays in travelling!  If I take other airlines, I could at least layover a night at the city for some exciting shopping or eating before I travel onto KIX!   Maybe this new route is specifically for Sydneysiders.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    27 Jul, 2017 04:33 pm

    Why are you trying to get to the airport 3 hours before a domestic flight?
    3 hours may be a "recommended" check in time prior to an international flight, but if you are connecting from a domestic flight, you just need to meet the domestic check in time.

    If your travel takes more then 40 odd minutes between KIX and central Osaka, then you're using the wrong transport options.

    I have only ever spent more then 30 minutes at Japanese immigration, baggage, customs once in 11 years of travelling, and that was at NRT.
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  • Steve987

    Steve987

    27 Jul, 2017 11:42 pm

    Getting up at 3am to make a 6am flight doesn't equal getting to airport 3 hours before flight...
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  • Scott Brown

    DownSouth

    27 Jul, 2017 04:23 pm

    Those fees and taxes on FF seats are horrendously high. Better programs around.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    27 Jul, 2017 04:27 pm

    Just saw an email from QF about this. First thought was where is the aircraft for this coming from, but looking at the dates, it matches the period when 787s start arriving and ends just before all 4 would be in use.

    Pulling a A330 from domestic ops with 787 replacement between MEL-LAX runs?


    It's been a while since I entered Japan via KIX, but I don't recall ever waiting more then 20 minutes to get through KIX immigration (in or out).
    The bridge linking the reclaimed island to the mainland is some distance away from Osaka, no reason to go by road when there are express train options. The Nankai Rapi:t train takes 34 mins to Namba station. The JR express train doesn't go to either Namba or Umeda (the major Osaka stations), but stops at Tennoji (with a number of cheap budget business hotels nearby) which isn't far from Namba.
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  • smit0847

    smit0847

    27 Jul, 2017 04:29 pm

    Weird that they picked Osaka instead of Sapporo. Do people go to Osaka in winter?!
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    27 Jul, 2017 04:43 pm

    Sapporo is tourists. Osaka is a business hub. KIX would attract a bigger yield then CTS.

    Before asking why QF doesn't go to CTS, ask why they stopped flying there and why JQ doesn't.
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  • harko

    harko

    27 Jul, 2017 05:36 pm

    How about people from Osaka area escaping their winter to enjoy the summer in Australia?
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  • GregXL

    GregXL

    27 Jul, 2017 10:24 pm

    Yes, people do go to Osaka in winter.  It is a great stop over in the way to a ski trip, with Kyoto close by as well as Osaka's tourist attractions.  From there a relaxing few hours on a train to the ski areas around Nagano.
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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    27 Jul, 2017 05:46 pm

    It is the same reason o/s airlines chose Melbourne after Sydney rather than cairns. These are business flights being tested and will go full time a little later on when an A330 is free.
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  • grahama33

    grahama33

    27 Jul, 2017 06:41 pm

    KIX Immigration - yuck ! With an 11pm arrival - we had a 90min immigration queue. Getting us into the terminal after the last train. And barely a taxi in sight with absurd queues. Eventually got a local crew bus at 3am to the mainland. So beware any delays with the 9.20pm arrival. Hey - while I'm at it - what does 'wheels up' time mean - is it scheduled departure time - or expected time the plane leaves the runway ?? Often appears in these sorts of news items and confuses me totally ! 
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    27 Jul, 2017 08:32 pm

    It's a more colourful way of saying 'departs' when you have to say 'departs' or a similar-meaning word or phrase four times in two paragraphs. ;)
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  • Peter  Maguire

    wheatbeltflyer

    29 Jul, 2017 12:35 am

    Would be great to see a return of direct flights from Perth to Japan!  Would take Jetstar if necessary - surely there are enough skiers for seasonal flights at least
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  • James Zhang

    pkjames

    29 Jul, 2017 12:37 pm

    Can't wait for this to go full schedule! It is a big void for the Japan/Aus market!
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  • James Zhang

    pkjames

    29 Jul, 2017 01:02 pm

    I have to say, 9:20 isn't a great time for arrival. The late Chinese flights all arrive at the same time. Myself is taking a CZ Can-Kix flight this arvo, arrive at 9:10. There are other flights arrive at roughly the same time from PVG, HKG.  It is a HUGE queue at the immigration particularly during the Chinese New Year period, usually between January and February.
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  • RK

    Ryan K

    14 Sep, 2017 12:17 pm

    I'm loving seeing Qantas enter this new phase of growth. Keep it coming!
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  • Darren

    DGP

    14 Sep, 2017 01:09 pm

    These days, crew usually turn around and come home within 24 hours. These 2-3 night stopovers in Osaka are certainly a big change.  Unless QF sends them back and brings a new crew via Tokyo?
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  • habui

    habui

    14 Sep, 2017 01:39 pm

    Are quoted departure times really "wheels up" as mentioned in the article, or in fact the scheduled pushback time? Often can be a half hour or more difference at some airports. 


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  • aklrunway

    aklrunway

    14 Sep, 2017 02:29 pm

    Why are people downvoting this? It's entirely valid
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  • David Flynn

    David

    14 Sep, 2017 03:01 pm

    Habul: a good question, and a good chance for us to explain this. We use 'wheels up' as an alternative to 'departure time', simply for the sake of variety in language. This is in keeping with our more mainstream approach and audience (eg we also don't use airport codes or 2400 time) – so while hardcore aviation enthusiasts will of course note a distinct difference between 'pushback' and 'wheels up' it means nothing to the average person or indeed 99.99% of the population, and that's who we write for.
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  • MichaelP

    MichaelP

    14 Sep, 2017 03:42 pm

    Agree connections to Sapporo - at least out of Narita - are tight / non existent when arriving late afternoon / evening from AU east coast... most recently flew China Airlines BNE - TPE - CTS; good connections & 747 TPE - CTS! 

    J on their A330's well priced, hard product not up to scratch. Once they start flying A350's from BNE they'll be hard to beat
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    15 Sep, 2017 06:45 pm

    @MichaelP:
    "...connections to Sapporo - at least out of Narita - are tight / non existent when arriving late afternoon / evening from AU east coast.."
    When looking @ the schedules of QF's SYD-KIX and JetStar Japan's KIX-CTS(Or even JL domestic codeshares), pretty obvious connecting the 2 routes is not part of QF's game plan to launch SYD-KIX.

    For SYD - CTS mkt and just looking @ schedules, I think QF intends SYD-HND to carry the bulk of those traffic and to connect with 16 daily round-trip departures by JL codeshares on HND-CTS.  More utility for QF pax as classic non-LCC perks such as thru-checkin & baggage interline(e.g. heavy ski/snowboard gears) can be provided for the return leg(Though there is a JL domestic bag drop counter located right outside custom @ HND Int'l terminal for inbound QF pax fm SYD).  In contrast, if a QF pax connects with JetStar JP @ NRT, it'll involve @ least a 10-15mins walk or free shuttle between T2 and T3 most likely with luggages in tow.  Fm QF perspective, it can perhaps earn higher yield fm a QF+JL  combo than fm a QF+JetStar JP combo and anyway, winter is mostly low season/load factor for HND-CTS....QF can help partner JL's domestic load.  In contrast, load factor for JetStar JP on NRT-CTS doesn't really hv a low season yr-round...probably an example of fare level being sufficiently lower than HND-CTS to attract domestic pax to fly NRT-CTS who wouldn't otherwise be flying to Sapporo at all during low season.

    Once again I'm expecting lots of negatives/vote-downs re the comment/assessment I hv just made above which is not what most travelers here want to hear.....bring them on.
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  • watson374

    watson374

    18 Sep, 2017 10:26 am

    @FLX1 Agreed—it looks like the game plan is SYD-KIX itself (i.e. two-way O&D traffic, both business and leisure, with a smattering of Australian-end connecting traffic).

    Of course, I'm sure someone will ask for something like the HND schedule (e.g. SYD 2130 KIX 0525+1).
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    14 Sep, 2017 03:52 pm

    Where are they getting the aircraft from for this? The seasonal dates made sense with a 787 covering domestic A330 flights between LAX flights, but past March, that isn't possible.

    The A330 fleet is somewhat more difficult to figure out then the other wide body fleets.
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  • Alex Yuen

    JAL789FTW

    14 Sep, 2017 05:34 pm

    I imagine the A330s are coming from QF5/QF6 (SYD-SIN) as QF1/QF2 (SYD-SIN-LHR) A380 are replacing those A330 flights.
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  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    14 Sep, 2017 05:34 pm

    Putting A380s onto Sydney-Singapore-London and Melbourne-Singapore from late March would have created some spare A330s?
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  • watson374

    watson374

    14 Sep, 2017 05:49 pm

    I can believe one A330 coming off QF5/6[1], as that's daily, but there isn't really a whole week's worth of A330 capacity coming from QF35/36's upgauging, as QF37/38 is going from thrice-weekly to daily.

    I imagine it would involve some shuffling around between the other less-than-daily QF A330 flights, e.g. MNL, CGK.

    • [1] Or QF81/82, depending on which flight number they shelve--I would like them to shelve both and revive QF31/32, but that's not really relevant to A330 capacity per se, so...
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  • Frank

    Frank

    24 Oct, 2017 11:18 am

    Morning Chris - I thought I saw an article within the last month or so re QF/JL starting a PER/NRT flight early next year (which didn't go via the East coast!). Any confirmation on that? Thanks as always.
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24 Nov, 2017 04:48 pm

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