Gulf airlines tap into Tokyo

Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways all launch flights to Tokyo

Qatar Airways touched down in Tokyo on April 26. The airline operates a daily service between Tokyo and Doha.
Qatar Airways touched down in Tokyo on April 26. The airline operates a daily service between Tokyo and Doha.

March and April saw Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways all launch flights to Tokyo, following last year’s expansion of Narita International Airport’s second runway.

Etihad was the first to commence non-stop flights from Abu Dhabi on March 27. “Tokyo is a very important route for Etihad Airways,” said James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways. “The opening of this route is yet another important milestone that signifies the strong social, economic, cultural and political relationships between the UAE and Japan. Our objective is to play an active role in developing the growth of travel and tourism trade between the two countries wherever possible,” he added.

The airline is operating five non-stop flights per week to Tokyo. It’s Airbus A330-200 have been equipped with in-flight services dedicated to the Japanese market, including a tailored menu, and Japanese speakers in the cabin crew.

“Our current bookings have indicated a high demand from premium travellers, in particular business passengers. We also believe the increasing number of high profile attractions in Abu Dhabi will be very attractive to Japanese leisure travellers,” said Hogan.

Emirates launched its inaugural flight on 28 March. “It was wonderful to finally arrive at Narita International. It was always our intention to operate non-stop between Dubai and Tokyo and that day has now arrived,” said Richard Jewsbury, senior vice president of Emirates’ commercial operations in the Far East and Australasia.

“We had already seen robust demand for the flights following the announcement that we would be beginning our service and this demand has remained since launch day. As a result, our seat load factor is expected to be over 80 percent in the first year and we would say that 70 percent of our passengers will be travelling in the economy cabin with the rest in the premium cabins,”he added.

The first Qatar Airways flight touched down in Tokyo on 26 April. Tokyo is the second Japanese destination for Qatar Airways which already serves Osaka. Qatar Airways is marketing itself as the only carrier from the Gulf to operate daily flights to the Japanese capital.

“Of the three airlines – Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways – we are the only carrier operating daily services between Tokyo and the Middle East,” said Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways. “Qatar Airways offers more convenience for passengers as opposed to airlines offering only five services a week. Qatar Airways daily service enables passengers to travel when it suits them, not when it suits the airline.”

“We are expecting strong demand throughout the year, peaking during the European summer months. With close to 130 million people in the country, and one of the largest economies in the world, Japan presents exciting prospects for Qatar Airways and we look forward to strengthening our operations to this dynamic country,” said Al Baker.

Tapping into Tokyo - how the three Gulf airlines measure up:

  • Etihad Airways commenced non-stop flights from its home base in Abu Dhabi to Tokyo on 27 March, becoming the first Middle Eastern airline to operate to the Japanese capital. 
  • The airline will operate five non-stop flights per week to Tokyo, in addition to the five flights per week it offers to Nagoya. 
  • The airline expects a high volume of traffic on the route, particularly business travellers. It also believes the increasing number of high profile attractions in Abu Dhabi will be very attractive to Japanese leisure travellers. 
  • The flights will be operated by three-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft and will feature in-flight services dedicated to the Japanese market, including a tailored menu, local in-flight entertainment content and cabin crew consisting of a number of Japanese speakers and nationals. 
  • This aircraft is configured with 10 seats in Diamond class, 24 seats in Pearl Business class, 160 seats in Coral Economy class. 
  • Emirates arrived in Tokyo on Sunday evening with its inaugural non-stop flight on 28th March, following a day of celebrating all things Japan in Dubai. 
  • The airline will operate five non-stop flights per week to Tokyo, on Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 
  • Emirates will be serving the route using its ultra modern Boeing 777-300ER and passengers are able to enjoy the delicacies from the newly created Japanese menu, catering to all tastes; while watching the latest blockbuster movies on Emirates’ state-of-the-art ice entertainment system, which includes Japanese audio, TV and movie channels. 
  • The aircraft has eight Private Suites in First Class; 42 flat-bed seats in Business Class and 304 Economy Class seats. 
  • The seat load factor is expected to be over 80 percent in the first year and around 70 percent of passengers are expected to be travelling in the economy cabin with the rest in the premium cabins.
  • Qatar Airways flight QR802 touched down at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport on 26 April 2010.
  • The airline is operating daily services between Tokyo and the Middle East 
  • Qatar Airways expects to carry a mix of passengers with group traffic making up about 50 percent, as well as those heading to popular Japanese holiday destinations in North Africa and Europe. It also expect considerable business traffic to the Gulf region, as there are many Japanese companies with operations in Qatar. 
  • Qatar Airways serves Tokyo with an Airbus A330 in a three-class configuration. Qatar Airways’ passengers transiting onwards in First or Business Class through Doha onto connecting cities can use the airline’s exclusive Premium Terminal, where they can unwind and relax, enjoying facilities including fine dining, spa treatments and duty free shopping.
  • The aircraft includes 12 First, 18 Business and 208 Economy Class seats.

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