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State Government secures new flights from Tokyo to Brisbane

29 October 2019

New service from Tokyo to Brisbane.

A new Virgin Australia daily service from Tokyo to Brisbane secured by the Palaszczuk Government is expected to generate more than a quarter of a billion dollars and create 2,760 jobs in Queensland over the next three years.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the new service, commencing in 2020, would provide a welcome boost to the state’s tourism operators.

“We’re investing in tourism to create jobs for Queenslanders,” Ms Jones said.

“This is a great day for the Queensland tourism industry.

“In announcing this new daily service from Haneda Airport to Brisbane, we’re talking about an additional 100,375 seats a year coming into Brisbane.”

Ms Jones said the flights announced today would generate $254 million over the next three years.

“We know the Japanese love our state, with almost half of all travellers from Japan to Australia coming to Queensland,” she said.

“We also know that when Japanese travellers come to Queensland, they spend up big.”

Ms Jones said the service announced today would bring a diverse mix of visitors - coming for business, leisure and education -  delivering a significant boost for Queensland’s tourism economy.

“When the last direct flights from Tokyo to Brisbane came onboard in August 2015, we saw year-on-year growth in Japanese visitors of 22 per cent, from 160,000 in the year ended September 2015 to 195,000 in the year ended September 2016,” Ms Jones said.

“That number has continued to steadily grow and in the year to June 2019, Japan has moved up two positions to become Queensland’s third most valuable international tourism market with 212,000 Japanese visitors who spent $463.5m.

“Direct aviation access is key to growing our state’s share of the market and these new services are another shot in the arm for the industry.

“When it comes to securing new flights, this government has the runs on the board. In total, we’ve secured 28 new flights opening up three million more airline seats to Queensland.

“This is worth more than $2 billion to our economy.”

Virgin Australia Group Managing Director and CEO Paul Scurrah said the new service would provide significant benefits.

“We’re thrilled to be announcing our new Brisbane – Haneda daily service from 29 March next year and bringing much needed competition to a monopoly market. The Brisbane – Haneda market has a strong growth outlook and our research has shown this route will have significant benefits for business and leisure travellers, the tourism industry, and the Australian economy.

“All Australians can enjoy our new Japan service but we’re particularly pleased to be flying out of our home base of Brisbane, and giving local residents even more reasons to visit Japan and enjoy our best value fares and award-winning service.”

Brisbane Airport Corporation Chief Executive Officer Gert-Jan de Graaff said today’s announcement was a great win for the airport.

“This new Virgin Australia service will be the first direct connection between Queensland and Haneda Airport, the primary international airport serving Tokyo, and the first new airline capacity between Japan and Queensland since 2015.

“We applaud Virgin Australia’s decision to expand long-haul services to and from Brisbane Airport, which not only improves connectivity for travellers in Queensland, but ensures travellers from across their broader network in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific now also have choice and access to competitive and direct international flights to Japan.

“Japan is a foundation and a core tourism market and trading partner for Queensland so the benefits of increased access to and from Japan will ripple throughout the state, from the Gold Coast, to Cairns and to the Outback.

“This service was only secured through the collective efforts of Brisbane Airport Corporation in close collaboration with Tourism and Events Queensland, Trade and Investment Queensland, Destination Gold Coast and the Japanese Chambers of Commerce, among others. It’s been a real team-Queensland effort.”

Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista said over the years the organisation had cultivated strong relationships with Japanese tourism partners and that the announcement validates the strong investment.

“Japan visitor numbers to the Gold Coast increased 13.4 per cent for the year ending June 2019, demonstrating strong signs of a tourism resurgence from this market,” Ms Battista said.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner welcomed the announcement of a new direct flight path to Brisbane.

“A direct flight from Tokyo’s Haneda airport to Brisbane means even more visitors will step off the plane in Brisbane and see all the wonderful things our city has to offer,” Cr Schrinner said. 

“Increased tourism will benefit the economy and create more jobs, while allowing even more people to experience our fantastic climate and outdoor lifestyle.

“There’s so much to see and do right here in Brisbane and I look forward to welcoming even more tourists, when the direct route is established.”