QANTAS is positioning Jetstar to operate a number of international services in the next five years, including flights to Papua New Guinea
QANTAS is positioning Jetstar to operate a number of international services in the next five years, including flights to China, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and New Caledonia.
The Flying Kangaroo has sought permission from the International Air Services Commission for its low fares carrier to utilise capacity on certain routes “for flexibility”.
Jetstar currently flies just one Chinese route, between Wuhan and the Gold Coast, and does not operate any services to PNG or New Caledonia.
Qantas has approval for capacity of 4471 seats a week to China, which it says will be fully utilised by April next year.
Low fares carrier. Jetstar is grown to be a shining light in the Qantas Group, turning a strong profit and carrying millions of passengers. Picture: Carla Gottgens/BloombergSource: Supplied
An additional 1000 seats a week are being sought for PNG routes, which would represent at least three extra services a week.
No changes to capacity for New Caledonia and the Philippines are sought, only approval for Jetstar to operate in the place of or together with Qantas or a codeshare partner such as Aircalin.
A Qantas spokesman said there were no immediate plans to replace any services with Jetstar but the IASC application would give them flexibility in the future.
The application came as Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce went into bat for Jetstar in New Zealand, saying it was getting a disproportionately hard time because of the poor perception of budget carriers.
Speaking in Auckland, Mr Joyce said there was “a bit of a thing around low cost carriers”.
In 2008, Qantas surrendered its Bali route to Jetstar but made a “seasonal return” in December and January.
Both Jetstar and Qantas International have performed strongly in the last year, each increasing passenger numbers by ten per cent and earning more money per seat.
In the 12-months to February, Jetstar International carried 3.7 million people and Qantas International 4.3 million.
The IASC has invited other applications and submissions on the China, PNG, Philippines and New Caledonia routes before April 27.