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QANTAS HAS resumed direct flights between Melbourne and Tokyo for the first time in more than three years.

The new service is the first non-stop flight between Melbourne and Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport by any airline, saving passengers nearly two hours travel to downtown Tokyo compared with Narita Airport.

The year-round flights will operate four days per week with an Airbus A330 aircraft and add to Qantas’ existing flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Haneda Airport.

Together, these flights offer customers more than 420,000 seats between Australia and Japan annually and the choice of double daily flights to Tokyo.

Andrew David, Qantas Domestic and International CEO, said the flights would support the resurgence of tourism and trade links between Australia and Japan which have been growing rapidly since borders reopened.

“We’ve seen the demand for our Tokyo flights bounce back very strongly, and our research shows that it is one of the top tourist destinations that Australians plan on visiting in the next 12 months,” said Mr David.

“We’re pleased we can now offer our customers much easier access to Tokyo city centre and the world’s third largest economy from three major east coast Australian cities.”

The Melbourne-Tokyo (Haneda) route launch will be soon followed by the national carrier’s new Melbourne-Jakarta service which is set to commence in mid-April.


JETSTAR HAS launched its newest Trans-Tasman route with the airline celebrating the debut take off from Auckland to Brisbane.

The four return services per week will carry almost 40,000 visitors a year to Brisbane, offering Kiwis the opportunity to explore Queensland via its capital city as well as providing direct access to 12 domestic destinations.

“We know our customers are always on the lookout for more low fare travel options and exciting destinations,” said Stephanie Tully, Jetstar Group CEO.

“Since we announced the launch of the service, we’ve seen really strong bookings from holiday makers as well as expats keen to visit family and friends which is great news for local tourism operators and hospitality businesses.”


EMIRATES HAS increased its Australian capacity by launching flights from two major cities to popular overseas destinations.

The airline will operate the only A380 experience across the Tasman from Sydney to Christchurch, while a third Melbourne service will offer Australian’s a new connection to Singapore.

“We take tremendous pride in offering Australians better travel options, so are pleased that today we are returning to two new in-demand destinations,” said Barry Brown, Divisional Vice President Australasia at Emirates.

“Our Melbourne-Singapore-Dubai service will offer travellers a strong connection opportunity between two global travel hubs, providing access to substantial leisure and business activities, plus fantastic onwards links to and through Dubai.”

Meanwhile Emirates will also deploy its signature A380 aircraft to Bali starting from June 1, marking a milestone in Indonesia’s aviation history as the first A380 service to the country.

Passengers may also notice a new look livery from the airline, which has been refreshed and modernised.

It will be applied gradually across the rest of the existing fleet, with 24 aircraft, including 17 Boeing 777s, sporting the refreshed look by the end of 2023.


LOW-COST AIRLINE Vietjet has announced the launch of non-stop flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Brisbane.

The new service will operate twice weekly on modern wide-body aircraft, starting from June 16, and is expected to bring in more than 30,000 Vietnamese visitors to Brisbane during its first year of operation.

The new flights offer Queenslanders’ access to 30 destinations, allowing them to experience Vietnam’s vibrant culture and lifestyle. Visitors arriving in Brisbane from Vietnam will be able to connect to 53 destinations across Australia, with 30 of them in Queensland.

“The addition of Brisbane to our list of destinations is a significant step towards connecting Australia and Vietnam,” said Nguyen Thanh Son, Vietjet’s Vice President.

“Our services would be a catalyst for the further growth of tourism and trade between the two nations in the coming year.”

Vietjet operates around 450 flights daily on 160 routes connecting Vietnam and other Asian, European countries.

Virgin ends long wait to resume normal service

IT HAS been a long time between cocktails but Virgin Australia has finally resumed flights to one of our Pacific Island neighbours.

The airline’s first service to Port Vila in Vanuatu in three years took off from Brisbane last week. VA will now operate five flights a week between the two destinations during peak periods on 737-800 aircraft.

“This is an important and longstanding connection for Virgin Australia, which started flying between Australia and Vanuatu nearly 20 years ago,” said Alistair Hartley, Virgin Australia Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer.

“This is also really positive news for Vanuatu which relies on connections like these as a source of tourism and to connect friends and family across the Pacific.”

Guests travelling on the route will be able to access extensive connectivity through Brisbane to the rest of the Virgin Australia domestic and short haul international network.

“Australian visitation has continued to rise steadily since Vanuatu’s borders reopened in July 2022 and greater connectivity to Vanuatu, thanks to Virgin Australia, will help us welcome even more holidaymakers to our shores in 2023 and beyond,” said Adela Issachar Aru, Vanuatu Tourism Office CEO.

“We are excited to see more Australians answer the call of Vanuatu and look forward to seeing Virgin Australia’s red and purple in our skies again.”

The Vanuatu resumption is the latest step in rebuilding the carrier’s short haul international network and comes after services to Samoa and a new Gold Coast-Bali route took off recently.

New short haul international services will see VA grow its international capacity by 50 per cent from FY23 to FY24.

The airline’s short haul international network now includes Bali, Queenstown, Nadi, Port Vila and Apia, as well as Tokyo (Haneda) which will begin in June.