Jetstar’s flights between Tokyo and Cairns take off today after a nearly two and a half year hiatus, with the airline preparing to welcome thousands of visitors from Japan into tropical north Queensland each week.

On 26 July, Jetstar will also resume services between Cairns and Osaka (Kansai).

While restrictions remain in place for independent tourists travelling from Australia to Japan, Japanese citizens are now able to travel freely between the two countries, driving demand for Jetstar’s relaunch of direct services to Cairns.

Jetstar Group CEO Gareth Evans said today is another important milestone in rebuilding Jetstar’s international network.

“Australia has always been a popular destination for Japanese travellers, and we’re excited to be able to reconnect the two countries, providing a significant tourism boost to the local Cairns community and Queensland more broadly,” Mr Evans said.

“Jetstar is the first Australian carrier to relaunch flights between Australia and Japan, and we’re already seeing a lot of pent-up demand from Japanese travellers eager to visit Australia.

“Japan has also always been a popular destination for Australians, and we look forward to welcoming an announcement from the Japanese Government about the easing of international restrictions, which will allow two-way travel between the two countries.”

The Cairns-Tokyo route is operated five times a week with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. Flight JQ25 departs Cairns at 11:10, landing at Narita at 17:40. The return flight JQ26 takes off from Narita at 20:15, arriving in Cairns at 04:35.

The Cairns-Osaka route is operated four times a week, also with a Dreamliner. Flight JQ15 departs Cairns at 12:25, arriving in Osaka at 18:25. The return flight JQ16 takes off from Osaka at 21:05, landing in Cairns at 05:15.

Jetstar is also planning to restart Gold Coast-Tokyo services three times per week from 2 August. JQ11 will depart the Gold Coast at 10:35 every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, landing in Narita at 18:45. The return flight JQ12 will depart at 21:00, landing at the Gold Coast at 06:40.

Jetstar’s parent Qantas hasn’t yet resumed its services to Japan, no doubt because of the ongoing border restrictions. Qantas is planning to resume Sydney-Tokyo flights from 12 September, but this is probably based on the assumption that Australians will be allowed to visit by then. There’s a solid chance this date will be delayed.