As its international recovery continues, Qantas started direct return flights between Melbourne and Tokyo Haneda today.

Dot by dot, Australia’s national airline, Qantas, is filling in its international route map. Today marks the return of the direct service between Melbourne and Tokyo, suspended for more than three years due to the pandemic.

The new service also includes a change of airport in Japan, with Qantas switching from Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) to Tokyo Haneda International (HND). While there may be multiple reasons for the airport change, Qantas said it is all about saving passengers “nearly two hours travel to downtown Tokyo compared with Narita Airport.”

Qantas A330 in flight

Photo: Ryan Fletcher/Shutterstock

The service from Melbourne Airport (MEL) falls in line with Qantas flights from Brisbane Airport (BNE) and Sydney Airport (SYD), which also use Tokyo Haneda as their arrival point. The Melbourne – Haneda flights will operate as QF79 outbound and QF80 for the return to Melbourne.

Nonstop is so much better

While Qantas highlights this is the return of direct Tokyo flights from Melbourne after a three-year gap, it is less than two years since Melburnians could fly nonstop to Tokyo on QF79. According to, QF79 last operated on October 28th, 2021, although that was a weekly service that originated in Sydney and transited through Melbourne before heading for Tokyo Narita.

The aircraft, an Airbus A330-300 registration VH-QPH, then returned directly to Sydney as QF22. Here is the flight map for the leg from Melbourne to Tokyo Narita for the October 2021 QF79 flight.

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QF79 - MEL-NRT 2021

The new service will operate four times weekly, with Melbourne departures on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 11:00. The service will be flown by an Airbus A330-300 seating 297 passengers, configured in a two-class layout of 28 in business and 269 in economy. The combined services from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane provide more than 420,000 seats annually and give Qantas customers the choice of double daily flights to Tokyo.

In time for the cherry blossoms

Demand for flights between Australia and Tokyo has rebounded strongly since Japan eased entry restrictions. Qantas revealed that its research shows Japan is one of the top destinations Australians plan on visiting in the next twelve months. Domestic and international CEO Andrew David said:

“We’re pleased we can now offer our customers much easier access to Tokyo city centre and the world’s third largest economy from three major east coast Australian cities.

“Our customers in Victoria have been looking forward to the return of this route, with the flights launching in time for travellers to enjoy the cherry blossom season in Japan. Corporate travellers can also now save time on their airport commute by flying in and out of Haneda.”

Jetstar Boeing 787-8 Cairns Airport

Photo: Cairns Airport

The Qantas Group, which includes low-cost carrier Jetstar, operates up to 35 return flights each week from Australia to Japan. For those passengers who prefer to travel to Tokyo Narita, Jetstar has flights from Cairns (CNS) to Narita and Osaka Kansai International (KIX) and from the Gold Coast (OOL) to Narita. These services are operated using Jetstar’s fleet of Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners.

Last week Qantas rolled out a feast of new international menu items, some of which will feature on flights between Australia and Japan. Those dishes include seasonal grilled chicken, steamed rice, miso soup with Japanese pickles and pork ramen with pickled shitake mushroom, shallot and nori. Unfortunately for those taking the inaugural flight from Melbourne today, the new menu does not go onboard until March 29th.

Do you prefer to use Tokyo Haneda or Narita? Let us know in the comments.

  • Qantas has been flying the Boeing 787-9 from Darwin and Sydney to Delhi, India. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying


    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Brisbane Airport, Melbourne Airport, Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport

    Year Founded:


    Alan Joyce



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