Less than one week after Japan Airlines said it wanted to fly to Perth, All Nippon Airways President and chief executive Osamu Shinobe named Perth as the airline’s next Australian destination should its new Sydney service to start tomorrow be a success.
“We want to fly to other destinations in Australia,” Mr Shinobe told Australian Business Traveller in Chicago at the Star Alliance conference. The airline launches daily flights from Tokyo to Sydney tomorrow using its Boeing 787s and the first flight will feature the airline’s signature Star Wars themed 787.
Mr Shinobe said bookings are solid for the new Sydney service with a higher number of business travellers than ANA’s previous flights, which the airline axed in 1999. “Demand was more for leisure and also most passengers were Japanese,” Mr Shinobe said.
However, Mr 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.
On Monday The West Australian revealed that Japan Airlines Chairman Masaru Onishi indicated to Kyodo News that Perth was a “possible destination” for the airline next year.
However sources in Japan told The West Australian that in fact planning is well advanced and had been accelerated after the Paris terrorist attacks which have negatively impacted the airline’s traffic into Europe.
“The airline is looking to offer other safer travel markets,” said the source.
Perth’s direct connection with Tokyo was severed in 2011 when Qantas withdrew its three times weekly service which used Boeing 767s in a code-share partnership with JAL.
Japan bound travellers have been using Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways both of which offer numerous destinations in Japan via Singapore or Hong Kong.
Aside from the huge benefit of direct flights bringing in big spending Japanese tourists, both airlines offer WA travellers great connections to Europe and the US.
For instance All Nippon Airways operates to San Jose in the heart of Silicon Valley and Seattle, headquarters of Microsoft and Amazon and gateway to the scenic northwest of the US.
Japan Airlines connects with seven cities in the US and the Hawaiian island chain where it operates to five cities on four of the islands.