Singapore Airlines opens flights to Tokyo's Haneda, will others finally follow?

On November 11 Singapore's flag carrier, Singapore Airlines, announced it will launch a twice-daily service to Haneda Airport, marking another step towards a second major international airport for Tokyo.

The services will start in October 2010, with no details released as to flight times or aircraft type. Singapore currently offers a twice daily flight to Tokyo's main hub, Narita Airport, which handles nearly all the country's international traffic.

The move follows a recent proposition by the Japanese government of permitting Haneda to handle more international traffic to allow the more convenient but domestic-focused airport to become Japan's second international hub.

"Haneda has more domestic flight connections and is nearer Tokyo's business districts," stated a spokesperson for Singapore Airlines. "The new flights will cater for growth in demand and boost travel between Singapore and Japan for both business and tourism."

Foreign low-cost airlines have not received a warm reception at Narita, with high usage fees nearly excluding that segment of carriers.

But on November 10, Singapore-based Jetstar Asia, a low-cost offshoot of Qantas's Jetstar Airways, applied for a twice-daily flight to Haneda, launching its effort to remake and expand Haneda's capacities. The flights, which are now under review, would also begin October 2010.