Melbourne gets back non-stop flights to Tokyo four times a week from 29 April in a move that will subsequently see the Gold Coast lose its Jetstar wide body flights to Osaka from 8 May.
It will be the first non-stop Melbourne-Tokyo service since 2008.
In a statement Melbourne Airport summarises the nature of demand on the route, which includes a substantial freight component.
Melbourne Airport CEO, Chris Woodruff, said the new service will provide an important link for Victoria’s business and export industries to one of Australia’s largest trading partners.
“We are delighted that Jetstar is continuing to support its home base of Melbourne by commencing direct services to Japan.”
“Japan is Victoria’s most valuable single market for food and beverage exports. With around 85% of air exports carried in the belly of passenger aircraft, Jetstar’s new service will further support this important market as well as the state government’s vision to become Asia’s food bowl,” said Mr Woodruff.
“Japan is also a significant market for Victoria’s education and tourism industries. As a growing holiday destination, it’s great news for those leisure passengers heading to the popular ski slopes as they will no longer be required to make an unnecessary stopover.”
“Despite having to make a stop-over, over the last twelve months the number of people travelling between Victoria and Japan has grown by 10 per cent to reach 150,000, making Melbourne the fastest growing Japanese market across eastern Australia.”
“Over the last five years, with support from airline customers such as Jetstar, we’ve almost doubled the number of international passengers travelling to or from Victoria.”
While the Gold Coast is to lose Jetstar’s Osaka flights it will keep its flights to Tokyo.
The changes follow a similar reallocation of Jetstar resources away from Darwin in favour of Adelaide announced on Monday.
While the new Tokyo services will at first be flown by A330-200s they will be replaced by the slightly higher capacity 787-8s being introduced into its wide-body operations in the nearer term.