Jetstar’s Grand Plans for North Asia
Jetstar has introduced a ninth China destination, after launching a Melbourne-Beijing route via Singapore, in line with its rapidly expanding North East Asia strategy, which will see the budget carrier increase flights to an additional 40 weekly services from its Singapore hub by year’s end, writes Sophie Loras.
Jetstar Group CEO Bruce Buchanan said the Beijing leg – which commences in November pending regulatory approval – marked a significant and critical step in the airline’s Pan Asia growth strategy.
The Beijing leg builds on the airline’s existing operations from its Singapore hub that now connects with 22 destinations across Asia, Australia and New Zealand including Haikou, Shantou, Guilin, Hangzhou and Ningbo in China all introduced in the past 18 months.
“Australia is a major tourist destination for the Chinese, evidenced by a 27 percent jump of Chinese passport holders who came through Melbourne Airport during the past year,” Mr Buchanan said.
“Jetstar looks forward to working closely and cooperatively with Tourism Australia and the Victorian Government to build Chinese visitation to Victoria and more generally to Australia,” Mr Buchanan.
In 2010, China overtook the UK, to become Australia’s largest tourism source market by value, according to figures from Tourism Australia.
Tourism Australia’s Managing Director, Andrew McEvoy, said the Chinese market had the potential to grow to between $7 billion and $9 billion by 2020 but Australia still needed to see significant growth in aviation capacity from the Chinese market to reach that potential.
“This level of expenditure growth would see Australia welcoming between 780,000 and 860,000 annual visitors within the next decade,” Mr McEvoy said.
“Australia is home to more than 200,000 Chinese-born residents. Another 167,000 Chinese students have come to Australia to study. We are confident our new services will appeal to the Australian Chinese community as well as the broader population,” Jetstar said in a statement.
In line with Jetstar’s Pan-Asia strategy to become a leading budget airline in the region, Jetstar Group CEO, Bruce Buchanan, recently announced that the company had expanded its Singapore hub by 50 percent – with additional flights to Taipei, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta as well as introducing new routes this year to Beijing, Ningbo and Hanoi.
The expansion will see the carrier introduce five additional A320s and two A330s to its Asian fleet bringing its total number of jets based out of Singapore to 21. The growth of Jetstar’s Singapore fleet represents growth of its Singapore services of almost 200 percent since 2009 and an additional 40 weekly flights out of Singapore by year’s end.
The daily Singapore-Beijing service will commence on November 24 pending regulatory approval and Singapore to Ningbo in Zhejiang Province on September 9.
“Jetstar’s Pan Asian strategy is supported by the booming economies of the region where a new middle class is fuelling an immense appetite for low fares travel,” Mr Buchanan said.
Mr Buchanan said Jetstar has carried almost 20 million passengers in the last year, making Jetstar the fastest-growing airline to reach that milestone in just seven years of operation.
The Jetstar Group has grown from 400 employees in 2004 to more than 7,000 staff across the Asia Pacific today.
“Last year Jetstar became the largest low cost operator serving Singapore, and with today’s announcements we plan to extend our lead,” Mr Buchanan said.
“By the end of this year we expect Jetstar to be operating more than 3,000 flights per week to more than 60 destinations, across 17 countries with a fleet of 86 aircraft,” he said.
The new daily Singapore-Beijing service will connect with Jetstar’s existing Melbourne-Singapore service via Jetstar’s Singapore hub.
Jetstar will operate the new service on Jetstar aircraft. The route incurs a one-hour stop over in Singapore on the Melbourne to Beijing run and an almost 12-hour stop over on the return flight Beijing to Melbourne.
Jetstar is hoping flyers will take advantage of the long stop over on the return journey to visit Singapore, but is hoping to reduce the transfer time in the future.
Jetstar is still seeking regulatory approval to sell its China route tickets in China. Currently, all fares between Australia and China are being sold via the company’s Australian online site Jetstar.com and through existing relationships with travel trade and wholesale retailers.
Flights from Melbourne to Beijing are currently selling for as low as A$499 one-way. Business class fares are selling for $999. ■
Melbourne-Singapore-Beijing* schedule commencing November 24, 2011
Melbourne-Beijing* (via Singapore)
Melbourne – Singapore Singapore – Beijing
JQ7 12:00 – 16:50 JQ7 18:35 – 00:50
Beijing*-Melbourne (via Singapore)
Beijing – Singapore Singapore – Melbourne
JQ8 02:50 – 09:30 JQ8 20:50 – 06:55
* Subject to regulatory approval