Japan Airlines’ (JAL) first service out of Melbourne departed just minutes after midnight on Friday night carrying travellers on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
Passengers on the airline’s inaugural flight embarked the aircraft while listening to sounds of the koto, Japan’s much-loved national instrument.
Japanese Consul-General Kazuyoshi Matsunaga, Japan Airlines Chairman Masaru Onishi and Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi officially launched the service with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation Simon Gandy said Melbourne is excited to increase its ties to Japan through JAL’s daily service.
“This brand new service from Japan Airlines provides a significant step forward for Melbourne Airport and for travelling Victorians,” said Mr Gandy.
“I am very proud of the combined passion and commitment that Japan Airlines, the Victorian Government and the team at Melbourne Airport has shown to bring this service to life. It’s great to give Victorians more frequent services into Tokyo through Japan’s national carrier.”
“Our curfew free operation is a big part of our success. On JAL’s service travellers can depart Melbourne at 12:05am and arrive into Tokyo just after 9am, which is the perfect time for business travellers to arrive into the city, while holidaymakers get the whole day to explore.”
“The addition of new international destinations is a key driver in our growth. Non-stop services such as this are exactly what Victorian travellers deserve, and each new international service is a huge boon to the state economy.”
“To keep up with traveller demand we are working hard to build the necessary infrastructure to ensure our airport is never a constraint on Melbourne’s or Victoria’s prosperity.”
“Over the next decade we will invest, on average, more than half a billion dollars per year, every year, to improve, maintain and grow this essential piece of Victorian infrastructure, with the most important part of that investment being our proposed third runway.”
Mr Gandy said autumn is a wonderful time of year to visit Japan as the colourful autumn leaves known as koyo are out on display in parks, temples and mountainous regions across the country making it a very picturesque place.
“The koyo attract as many tourists as Japan’s famous cherry blossoms, so it’s a great time to launch this service.”
Japan Airlines Chairman Masaru Onishi said JAL is delighted to strengthen its network in Australia with the launch of this new Melbourne to Tokyo service.
“We are delighted to introduce a new service to Melbourne, our second destination in Australia. Since 1969, JAL has been operating to Australia and contributing to the promotion of bilateral relations between Japan and Australia. We are pleased to serve Melbourne and continue supporting both nations from every possible aspect including business and tourism,” said Mr Onishi.
“The number of Australians visiting Japan is increasing every year – not only to see the world heritage sites of Kyoto and Hiroshima or to ski in Niseko or Hakuba, but also to walk ancient pilgrimage routes and for gourmet tours. We look forward to welcoming Victorians to Japan on our new service.”
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