- Sold-out inaugural All Nippon Airways Tokyo-Perth flight lands in Perth tonight with 184 passengers
- First airline to fly direct between Perth and Japan since 2011, service to operate seven days a week
- Perth is the second only Australian city served by All Nippon Airways - a display of the airline's commitment
- New route will increase visitor numbers, grow the tourism industry and create hundreds more jobs
The inaugural All Nippon Airways (ANA) Tokyo-Perth direct flight is set to touch down in Perth this evening, bringing with it 184 excited passengers.
Tourism Minister Paul Papalia is among the new flight's first passengers, along with Australian Ambassador to Japan, the Hon. Richard Court AC.
Passengers will be greeted by Premier Mark McGowan and ANA VIPs on arrival, and traditional Aboriginal dancers will also be on hand to offer a warm welcome.
The Matagarup Bridge and Optus Stadium will also be lit blue to welcome the first ANA direct service landing in Perth.
The aircraft left Tokyo's Narita Airport at 10.10am today (WST). Ahead of take-off, a celebration was held to mark the occasion with Japanese drummers and a ribbon cutting ceremony. Mr Papalia and Ambassador Court handed passengers gifts which included a toy quokka and a free ticket to travel to Rottnest Island courtesy of Rottnest Express and the Rottnest Island Authority.
As part of a campaign to promote the flights in Japan, the Keisei Skyliner - a high-speed train that transports passengers to Narita Airport - has been decked out with quokka imagery on the exterior. With the train reaching speeds of up to 160kmh, it has been dubbed 'the fastest quokka on Earth'.
ANA is the first airline to fly direct between Perth and Japan since 2011, with a travel time of about nine hours. The deal to secure the flights was struck with support from the McGowan Government, through Tourism Western Australia, Tourism Australia and Perth Airport.
The airline will operate daily services on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which has a total of 184 seats including 32 business class seats, 14 premium economy seats and 138 economy seats.
The flights have been heavily promoted in Japan through a campaign featuring popular singer and actor, 'Nissy'. The campaign, a collaboration between Tourism WA, Tourism Australia and ANA, features the Pinnacles, Kings Park, Rottnest Island, Fremantle and the Swan Valley and is currently running on ANA's website and social media channels.
The introduction of the new service makes Perth the second only Australian city served by ANA, showing the airline's commitment to the Western Australian tourism industry.
The daily flights depart Tokyo (NRT) at 11.10am and arrive in Perth (PER) at 8.15pm. The aircraft will then depart from Perth at 9.45pm, to arrive in Tokyo at 8.25am the next morning.
On this return flight from Perth to Tokyo, which also provides a direct freight route for fresh Western Australian produce, the underbelly of the plane will be filled with 2.5 tonnes of WA-grown avocados, 2.6 tonnes of fresh flowers and 1.5 tonnes of chilled meat.
Return ticket prices between Tokyo and Perth start from $861 for economy, $1,561 for premium economy and $3,521 for business class, inclusive of taxes.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"As soon as we took office, my Government got on with the job to secure direct flights to Perth and resurrect WA's tourism industry.
"New direct aviation access like this is absolutely critical to unlocking the tourism potential of Western Australia as it helps attract visitors, drives investment and creates jobs.
"I would like to congratulate everyone involved with making this direct flight between Tokyo and Perth a reality.
"Earlier this year I returned to Japan to promote this new route and met with the President and CEO of All Nippon Airways to thank him for ANA's collaboration and commitment to this new service. Today, we're standing here together in Perth to meet the sold-out inaugural flight.
"Over three years it is estimated the flights will bring about 76,000 new visitors from Japan to Perth, providing a $175 million boost to the State's economy and creating hundreds of new jobs."
Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia:
"It's so exciting to be part of the inaugural flight, and to welcome the first load of passengers to Western Australia.
"This service now makes it so much easier to travel between Tokyo and Perth and will be a very attractive prospect for Japanese tourists.
"This inaugural flight has coincided with the start of the wildflower season in Western Australia, which is a popular sightseeing activity for Japanese visitors.
"In fact, WA offers everything Japanese tourists are looking for in a holiday destination - good food, wine, local cuisine and produce, as well as world-class coastlines, nature and wildlife.
"These direct flights have made it that much easier for them to access these wonderful experiences."
Comments attributed to Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham:
"ANA's decision to expand its international footprint to Perth demonstrates huge confidence in Western Australia and opens the door to significant opportunity from what is one of Australia's largest tourism markets.
"We've seen the Japan market bounce back strongly in recent years and the launch of this new service will undoubtedly maintain that momentum, providing valuable additional aviation capacity into WA and further cementing Perth's reputation as Australia's new western gateway.
"The Federal Government recognises the huge importance that aviation development plays in driving a sustainable tourism industry. That is why we will continue to work together with the States, Territories and airports to work towards attracting crucial new international services such as this one."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Tourism Minister's office - 6552 5600