Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia were awarded one slot each to operate flights at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, according to a draft decision by Australia’s International Air Services Commission (IASC).
The opening at Haneda Airport, which is closer to central Tokyo than Narita airport, comes as Virgin Australia’s new CEO Paul Scurrah looks to rejig the loss-making airline’s route network to better compete against deep-pocketed rival Qantas.
Haneda Airport has a limited number of slots and pinned the two Australian carriers up against each other for the lucrative opportunity. Qantas had applied for both slots, while Virgin Australia applied for just the one.
A final decision by IASC will come sometime after it closes a submission deadline on October 24 about its draft call, according to its statement issued on Monday, October 21.
Virgin Australia, which is trying to raise debt to fund the full takeover of its frequent flyer program, wrote in an emailed statement it plans to use its allocated slot to operate a daily service between Brisbane and Haneda from March next year.
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