NEW FLIGHTS TO STRENGTHEN TIES WITH JAPAN

NEW FLIGHTS TO STRENGTHEN TIES WITH JAPAN

QUEENSLAND'S tourism industry is set to receive a healthy boost, after Qantas announced it will launch direct flights between Brisbane and Tokyo.

The direct service to Narita Airport will operate four times a week from August next year, in addition to daily flights from Sydney to Haneda Airport.

Qantas is expected to capitalise on increasing demand, with the airline reporting a 17 per cent increase in departures from Australia to Japan in the past year.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce says the new service will also benefit international travellers and the local economy.

"This is great news for Brisbane customers wanting to visit Japan but it's also great news for tourism because it makes Queensland even more accessible to Japanese travellers," Joyce says.

"We expect the Sydney to Haneda services to be particularly popular with business travellers, and this traffic is likely to keep growing off the back of the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and Japan.

"Combined with Jetstar flights from Cairns and the Gold Coast into Japan, the services the Qantas Group offers put us in a very strong position when it comes to both leisure and premium travel to the worlds third largest economy."

The upgrade adds more than 4000 seats across 14 return flights each week, using A330 aircraft to Narita and B747 aircraft to Haneda.

The refurbished fleet of A330s will feature new lie-flat business suites, enhanced economy seating and new inflight entertainment.

Premier Campbell Newman says it's a significant coup for the tourism industry and will lead to increased expenditure at local businesses.

"From August 2015, Qantas A330s will fly four flights a week between Tokyos Narita Airport and Brisbane allowing more than 61,000 travellers to access the state annually," Newman says.

"This is fantastic news for Queensland tourism and is estimated to generate up to $37 million a year for our tourism industry."

Qantas will also confirm the details of an additional Narita service on alternate days from another airport.

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