VIRGIN Australia is saying hello to Tokyo, launching its first-ever service from Cairns Airport to Haneda Airport, taking off in June.
Working together with the Queensland Government through its Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, Virgin’s new service will add more than 30,000 additional inbound visitors into Cairns every year, delivering a major boost to the local tourism economy.
Virgin plans to operate the route using a new Boeing 737-8 aircraft, which will add 2,000 seats per week into Queensland.
To celebrate, Virgin has dropped a massive “Hello Tokyo” sale, with tickets from $699 return, until midnight on Tuesday, or until sold out.
“Virgin Australia is a proud Queensland company and we’re delighted to add over 2,000 seats between these iconic destinations every week which means more value and choice for Australians wanting to travel to Japan,” Chief Executive Officer Jane Hrdlicka said.
“Importantly, it also means welcoming more Japanese tourists into the Sunshine State to enjoy our unrivalled natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands.
“We know the Japanese market is hugely important to trade and tourism in Far North Queensland and the Sunshine State and our service will result in more international visitors arriving in Cairns every year, having a very positive impact on the State’s economy.”
Queensland’s Minister for Tourism Stirling Hinchliffe said the route is important, given Japan is one of the state’s top-five inbound nations.
“Virgin Australia direct from Japan is terrific news for tourism operators, generating almost $70 million for the Tropical North’s visitor economy and supporting 680 good Queensland jobs,” he said.
Virgin also announced it will strengthen its partnership with All Nippon Airways, with expanded codeshare services and reciprocal loyalty benefits to be implemented throughout next year.
MEANWHILE, Virgin is once again allowing refunds to be processed through the GDS, permitting travel advisors to self-manage refunds for their bookings where fare rules permit.
GDS refunds were restricted when Virgin entered voluntarily administration, to inhibit any future flight credit tickets from being refunded.
All FFC tickets have now been isolated, meaning Virgin is able to reinstate this functionality, in line with the terms of the administration.
“Now that all eligible FFC tickets have been isolated, we are thrilled to be able to reinstate this functionality,” Virgin told travelBulletin.’
Travel advisors who still have FFC tickets associated to live bookings they are managing on behalf of their customers have been told that no refunds are permitted.
Any refunds that are processed that are not in line with the fare rules or FFC Policy will be subject to an ADM, the carrier noted.
Virgin GDS refunds cannot be used in markets with BSP has been withdrawn, the airline noted.