[2021] IASC R03

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Resolution: [2021] IASC R03
Determination: [2019] IASC 119
The Route: Japan
The Applicant:

Virgin Australia International Airlines Pty Ltd
(ABN 63 125 580 823)

Public Register: IASC/APP/202107

On 28 October 2019, the International Air Services Commission (the Commission) issued 
Determination [2019] IASC 119 (the Determination) allocating one frequency per day in each 
direction to Virgin Australia International Airlines Pty Ltd (Virgin Australia) on the Japan route to 
serve Tokyo-Haneda Airport. The Determination includes several conditions including the 
requirement for the capacity to be utilised from no later than 29 March 2020 or from such 
other date approved by the Commission. 

Virgin Australia has advised the Commission that due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacts, 
including current travel restrictions put in place by the Australian Government in 
March 2020, Virgin Australia was not able to commence the new services to and from 
Tokyo-Haneda as originally planned. In light of this, upon the request of Virgin Australia, 
the Commission issued Resolutions [2020] IASC R02 (17 April 2020); [2020] IASC R04 
(19 June 2020); and [2020] IASC R09 (7 December 2020) extending the date of 
commencement of use of the capacity by Virgin Australia. On 30 March 2021, Virgin 
Australia wrote to the Commission seeking a further extension of the date of commencing the 
utilisation of the capacity from 31 March 2021 to 29 October 2022. 

Virgin Australia indicated in its application that due to the closure of Australia’s international 
borders, Virgin Australia has suspended its international operations. However, it also 
indicated that it intends to recommence its international operations as soon as possible. 

The Commission continues to recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel 
restrictions imposed by various countries, have seriously disrupted the international 
operations of airlines and global competition worldwide. The Commission remains of the 
view that, against this background, competition and other criteria cannot be assessed as 
current travel restrictions significantly hamper the Commission’s ability to make relevant 
findings. These matters will be addressed as appropriate as international scheduling and 
operations permit. 

The Commission notes that the Australian Government has indicated that international 
borders will remain closed until at least June 2021 and there is no immediate pressure from 
the Japanese regulators to see the new Haneda slots utilised. In light of these exceptional 
circumstances, the Commission considers that periodic resolutions extending the date for 
commencement of the Tokyo-Haneda capacity in line with IATA seasons remains 
appropriate. By following the IATA schedule season, the Commission links the resolutions 
to well-established patterns in the industry and gives some certainty to airlines. 
The Commission issues Resolution [2021] IASC R03 to provide that the capacity issued 
under Determination [2019] IASC 119 is to be utilised from no later than 31 October 2021, or 
such other date approved by the Commission. The Commission will continue to monitor the 
airline’s ability to utilise the capacity on the route. 

Dated: 06 April 2021


Ian Douglas - Chairperson

Karen Gosling - Commissioner