28 June 2023 | Network

G’day Tokyo! Virgin Australia maiden Japan flight takes-off with return sale fares from $699*

  • Virgin Australia’s first ever Cairns-Haneda, Tokyo service (VA77) will take off at 1.15pm (AEST) today, arriving in Tokyo at 8:00pm (JST).
  • The daily, year-round service will offer travellers more than 2,000 great value seats each week between the popular destinations, opening a new gateway of travel between Australia and Japan.
  • Cairns Airport will evolve into a convenient connection point for Virgin Australia to operate the Tokyo service, with easy, same day connecting flights between the airport and major Australian cities, including Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.
  • Virgin Australia has also unveiled a new Business Class and Economy menu to be served on the service with signature Japanese dishes, an array of iconic Japanese snacks alongside classic Western meal options (refer Notes to Editor).
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer’s more than 11.5 million members will now be able to earn and redeem Points to over 500 destinations around the world.
  • To celebrate the maiden service, Virgin Australia has launched a seven-day ‘Take off for Tokyo’ sale, with return airfares starting from $699* (Economy Lite from Cairns). Sale ends midnight AEST Tuesday 4 July 2023, here.

Wednesday, 28 June 2023: Virgin Australia will take off with its much-anticipated year-round service from Cairns to Haneda, Tokyo today, connecting two iconic destinations for the first time in aviation history.

Launched in partnership with the Queensland Government and Cairns Airport through the Queensland Government’s Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, the daily service will mean that more than 2,000 great value seats will be available to book each week between Cairns and Tokyo, with convenient same-day connections between major Australian cities and Cairns.

Tokyo sale from $699 return*

To celebrate the new service, Virgin Australia has today dropped its ‘Take off for Tokyo’ sale, giving travellers the opportunity to discover Tokyo from as low as $699* Economy Lite return from Cairns. The sale fares are available to book now until midnight AEST Tuesday 4 July 2023, unless sold out prior here.

Virgin Australia has also unveiled a new Japanese-inspired Business Class and Economy menu, exclusive to flights between Cairns and Haneda, Tokyo. Dishes include a Japanese bento box, pan fried pork dumplings, miso soup and green tea cake, along with popular local snacks (refer Notes to Editor for full menu).

New fuel-efficient aircraft on track to arrive this week

Today’s inaugural service comes as Virgin Australia takes delivery of the first of eight new Boeing 737-8 fuel-efficient aircraft in Seattle, which is scheduled to touch down on Australian soil this week. The aircraft will enter service in the coming weeks to operate Virgin Australia’s Cairns-Tokyo route, once routine regulatory approvals have been completed.


Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO and Japan Services Representative, Nick Rohrlach said the launch of the Cairns-Haneda service marks an exciting milestone for Virgin Australia as it continues to grow its international network and provide more value and choice to Australians.

“Today marks the start of our highly anticipated services to Haneda, Tokyo, which means Australian travellers will benefit from greater value and choice when flying to Japan as we expand our international footprint,” said Mr Rohrlach.

“We know that Cairns has consistently ranked as one of the most popular tourist destinations among Japanese visitors to Australia and we are thrilled to unlock a new convenient gateway for Japanese travellers to explore all Far North Queensland has to offer, while injecting a welcome boost of tourism into the region.

“To celebrate this significant milestone, we have today launched a Tokyo airfare sale with return Economy fares from as low as $699* until midnight next Tuesday. We expect the fares to sell out quickly so we are encouraging travellers to get in early to make the most of the sale.

“Today is also a significant day for Velocity members who can now earn and redeem Points when travelling to over 500 destinations around the world with Virgin Australia and our partner airlines.”

Mr Rohrlach said the in-flight experience would also include a touch of Tokyo, with destination-inspired offerings across its onboard food and beverage menu.

“Creating wonderful travel experiences starts in the air, and we are excited to bring a little slice of Tokyo to life on board for our guests, whether that is building excitement before they touch down or to mark the unforgettable trip they don’t want to end,” he said.

“Travellers can expect to find delicious Japanese-inspired dishes like a bento box, dumplings, miso soup, noodles and curries, along with some tried and tested Western meals, when flying on our Tokyo services. We have something to suit all tastebuds.”

Cairns Airport Chief Operating Officer Garry Porter said it was ideal timing for the new direct services to commence.

“With the mild winter weather in Tropical North Queensland our region offers the perfect backdrop for visitors to enjoy our natural attractions and cultural experiences, everything the Japanese enjoy,” he said.

“It has been more than a decade since we had a full-service carrier servicing the route from Tokyo to Cairns, and that coincided with peak Japanese visitation, which is a great indication of the potential of these new flights.

“With Virgin Australia’s extensive domestic network in Cairns we also expect to see travellers from southern states opt to travel via Cairns to visit Japan, especially during the Japanese winter ski season, which is always a drawcard for Aussie winter sport enthusiasts.” 

For more information and to book fares, visit here.


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  • Virgin Australia currently offers direct daily flights between Cairns and major capital cities including Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, in turn creating convenient one-stop connections to and from Tokyo and the East Coast of Australia:
    • Up to 33 flights per week or up to 5 per day between Brisbane and Cairns
    • Up to 21 flights per week or up to 3 per day between Melbourne and Cairns
    • Up to 23 per week or up to 3 per day between Sydney and Cairns
  • Cairns Airport plays an important role in Virgin Australia’s business, facilitating travel into Far North Queensland, and is one of the largest domestic ports in the airline’s network.
  • Virgin Australia currently operates more than 150 services in and out of Cairns Domestic Airport every week.
  • Virgin Australia now operates services to six international destinations, including Tokyo, Bali, Queenstown, Nadi, Port Vila (Vanuatu) and Apia (Samoa).

Take off for Tokyo return Economy fares on sale until midnight 4 July 2023*:

  • Cairns – Tokyo from $699 (Lite fare)
  • Cairns – Tokyo from $819 (Choice fare)
  • Brisbane – Cairns – Tokyo from $799 (Lite fare)
  • Sydney – Cairns – Tokyo from $799 (Lite fare)
  • Melbourne – Cairns – Tokyo from $799 (Lite fare)
  • Brisbane – Cairns – Tokyo from $919 (Choice fare)
  • Sydney – Cairns – Tokyo from $919 (Choice fare)
  • Melbourne – Cairns – Tokyo from $919 (Choice fare)

Virgin Australia Cairns-Haneda (Tokyo) menu highlights

Business Class

  • Japanese Bento box: Glazed teriyaki chicken, carrot, green beans and shitake mushroom served with grilled Japanese eggplant and red pepper, braised pumpkin, pickles, steamed rice
  • Asian slaw with soba noodles
  • Pan fried pork dumplings
  • Hot miso soup
  • Spinach and ricotta ravioli with herbed tomato sauce, spinach, and parmesan panko crumb (Western main option)
  • Four cheese arancini with muhammara sauce (Western main option)
  • Sweet treats including green tea cake, blueberry cake and carrot cake
  • Authentic Japanese green tea
  • Yoshinogawa Gensen Karakuchi sake
  • 4 Pines Japanese-style Lager

Economy (available for purchase from the airline’s buy onboard menu)

  • Japanese style chicken curry
  • Mr Lee’s Zen Garden vegetable miso noodles
  • Marukomi instant miso soup
  • Vegetable pasta (western option)
  • Strawberry Pocky sticks
  • Pokka Lemon Ice-Tea


*Sale ends midnight AEST 4 July 2023 unless sold out prior for selected return flights on selected travel dates in 2023 and 2024 for Economy Lite and Choice fares only. Travel periods apply and fares are subject to availability. Fares departing Cairns to Tokyo (Haneda) are for travel from 30 July 2023 until 8 August 2023, from 16 October 2023 until 13 November 2023 and from 28 February 2023 to 13 March 2024. Fares departing Brisbane to Tokyo (Haneda) via Cairns are for travel from 30 July 2023 until 7 August 2023 and from 28 February 2024 to 13 March 2024. Fares departing Sydney or Melbourne to Tokyo (Haneda) via Cairns are for travel from 28 February 2024 to 13 March 2024. Price is based on a return Economy Lite fare booked on virginaustralia.com. Discount does not apply to fees and taxes. Seats are limited and may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Payment surcharge may apply. Seat selection and checked baggage are not included in Economy Lite fares. Economy Lite fares are not recommended if you require flexibility with your travel as cancellations are not permitted and you may need to pay a fee and any fare difference to make a change. For other fare types, a fee and fare difference may be payable for changing or cancelling your booking. See Virgin Australia’s International Fees page for details. Refunds are not permitted for Economy Lite and Choice fares if you cancel your booking. Refunds are permitted for Economy Flex fares on payment of a fee. You may also request a refund for other reasons, including under the Australian Consumer Law. Check your fare rules for more information. Full terms and conditions at www.virginaustralia.com.