G’day Tokyo! Virgin Australia launches its maiden Japan flight

A Virgin Australia Boeing 737 passes overhead.
Bahnfrend, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read

Virgin Australia has operated its maiden Japan flight from Cairns to Haneda, Tokyo today. The new route – a first for the airlines – was launched in partnership with the Queensland Government and Cairns Airport, and will connect two iconic destinations for the first time.

With the daily service, travellers can now book over 2,000 great value seats each week between Cairns and Tokyo, enjoying convenient same-day connections to major Australian cities.

Unveiling a Japanese-Inspired Business Class and Economy Menu

In conjunction with the new route, Virgin Australia has introduced a special Japanese-inspired Business Class and Economy menu, exclusively available on flights between Cairns and Haneda, Tokyo.

Passengers can savour a variety of delectable dishes, including a Japanese bento box, pan-fried pork dumplings, miso soup, green tea cake, and popular local snacks.

The airline aims to provide an authentic culinary experience that showcases the flavours of Japan.

The new 737-8

Adding to the excitement, Virgin Australia is welcoming a fleet of new fuel-efficient aircraft. The first of eight Boeing 737-8 aircraft arrived in Australia this week, with the remaining aircraft set to follow shortly.


These state-of-the-art aircraft will operate the Cairns-Tokyo route, offering an enhanced travel experience to passengers. However, the aircraft will commence service once routine regulatory approvals have been obtained.

A Milestone for Virgin Australia and Japanese Travelers

Nick Rohrlach, Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO and Japan Services Representative, expressed his enthusiasm for the launch of the Cairns-Haneda service.

He stated that this new route represents an important milestone for Virgin Australia as it expands its international network and provides more value and choice to Australians.

Photo Credits: Virgin Australia

Cairns has long been a favourite destination for Japanese tourists, and the introduction of this service will offer Japanese travellers a convenient gateway to explore the beauty of Far North Queensland while boosting tourism in the region.

Virgin Australia is dedicated to providing a memorable in-flight experience, and the Cairns-Haneda service is no exception.

Passengers will be treated to destination-inspired offerings on the onboard food and beverage menu, immersing them in the vibrant culture of Tokyo.

From delicious Japanese-inspired dishes such as bento boxes, dumplings, miso soup, noodles, and curries to a selection of tried and tested Western meals, there is something to suit every palate.

Cairns Airport: Gateway to Tropical North Queensland

Garry Porter, the Chief Operating Officer of Cairns Airport, believes that the timing for the new direct services is ideal.

The mild winter weather in Tropical North Queensland provides a perfect backdrop for visitors to enjoy the region’s natural attractions and cultural experiences, which align with the preferences of Japanese travellers.

The introduction of these flights marks more than a decade since a full-service carrier has operated the Tokyo to Cairns route, further highlighting the potential of this new venture.

With Virgin Australia’s extensive domestic network in Cairns, travellers from southern states may also choose to travel via Cairns to visit Japan, especially during the Japanese winter ski season, which is a popular choice for Australian winter sport enthusiasts.

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