The number of flights airlines can operate between Australia and Tokyo Haneda Airport will triple after Australia and Japan expanded their air services arrangements.

The expanded arrangements allow for two new return flights per day for Australian airlines and two for Japanese airlines.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said this was an excellent outcome for Australia.

“As the airport is the closest to Tokyo, access to Haneda Airport is highly sought after worldwide,” Mr McCormack said.

“This excellent outcome lays the foundation for airlines to increase direct flights between Australia and Japan.

“Australian travellers will have easier access to Tokyo’s downtown business district and faster domestic connections throughout Japan,” Mr McCormack said.

“Australia and Japan share a strong aviation relationship, dating back to the first Qantas flights to Japan in 1947.

“These expanded arrangements support the enduring tourism, trade and people-to-people links between our two countries.

“Japan is currently Australia’s fifth most valuable international tourism market with 438,000 tourists contributing $2 billion to the Australian economy in the year ending March 2019. This is now set to grow considerably,” Mr McCormack said.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said that this announcement represented a significant win for Australia’s aviation and tourism industry and is a reflection of the strong, longstanding relationship that Australia maintains with Japan.

“Japan is one of our most important tourism markets, with Japanese visitors spending $2 billion in Australia in the last year,” Mr Birmingham said.

“Today’s announcement, which comes off the back of ANA’s inaugural Tokyo to Perth flight on Sunday, will pave the way for a significant boost to two-way traffic between our countries, helping to drive further growth from a market that has continued to go from strength to strength in recent years.

“More slots for more flights is good news for the half a million Australians whose jobs are supported by our tourism industry, which continues to offer appealing and unique experiences to millions of visitors from all corners of the world.”

The additional access to Haneda Airport will complement the 67 services between Australia and Japan each week, including to some of Australia’s regional areas such as Cairns and the Gold Coast.

Passenger air traffic from Japan to Australia has recorded huge growth over the past five years. From 2014 to 2018 inclusive, the number of short-term visitors from Japan arriving in Australia increased by 40 per cent.

By 2026–27, Australia will welcome an estimated 626,000 Japanese tourists who will contribute $3.7 billion to the Australian economy.

The new Haneda arrangements will take effect from 29 March 2020. Decisions on which Australian airlines will be able to use the additional capacity to Haneda Airport will be determined by the independent International Air Services Commission.

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