Jetstar Asia welcomes chance to enter SIN-KUL market

Logo: JetStar Asia Since starting operations at Singapore’s Changi airport just over three years ago Jetstar’s subsidiary Jetstar Asia has hardly grown dramatically. It still operates just five 180-seat A320s and carried its three millionth passenger during 2007. Having inaugurated just one new route in each of the last two years (Bangalore in 2006, which was subsequently axed, and Ho Chi Minh City in 2007) the airline launches two routes on successive days in February.

Image: 3 millionth pasenger
Lee Swee Poh, a 30-year-old IT systems analyst, was Jetstar Asia’s three millionth passenger. He received $3,333 worth of Jetstar Asia travel vouchers, buffet vouchers for Novotel Clarke Quay’s The Square, three nights hotel stay in Hong Kong sponsored by Octopus Travel and Jetstar memorabilia.

New routes to Kuala Lumpur and Macau

Image: JetstarThanks to agreements between the Malaysian and Singapore governments, from 1 February 2008 each country has been allowed to assign two daily frequencies to non-flag carrier airlines on the route between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia assigned both frequencies to AirAsia while the Singaporean authorities have given one each to Tiger Airways and Jetstar Asia. Fares on this route are analysed in more detail in this week’s farewatch.

Another new route to Macau (competing directly with Tiger Airways) begins on the 2 February, bringing Jetstar Asia’s range of destinations from Singapore to 11. Frequencies offered and competition are summarised in the table below.

Destination Jetstar frequencies Competitors weekly frequency*
Bangkok 13 SIA (39), Thai AirAsia (28), Thai AW (31), Tiger AW (14)
Ho Chi Minh City 11 SIA (17), Tiger AW (8), Vietnam AL (7)
Hong Kong 12 Cathay (35), SIA (42)
Manila 7 Cebu Pacific (7), Philippine AL (17), SIA (21)
Phnom Penh 3 Silk Air (12)
Phuket 4 Silk Air (31), Thai Air Asia (7), Tiger AW (14)
Siem Reap 3 Silk Air (7)
Taipei 7 China AL (7), Eva AW (6), SIA (18)
Yangon 3 Silk Air (14)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 21 January 2008
* Does not include fifth-freedom operators

Image: Jetstar adJetstar Asia also offers three destinations in Indonesia (Jakarta, Surabaya and Denpasar Bali) through its website, but these are operated by Valuair, a Singapore-based airline which began operations with two A320s in May 2004. On the Jakarta route it operates against nine other airlines!

Image: Pattaya route
Jetstar Asia’s Singapore-Pattaya route lasted just three months, with services ending in March 2005.

Jetstar Asia’s route network has had the occasional failure. Apart from Bangalore another Indian route to Kolkata started in August 2005 but lasted less than a year. A route to Pattaya operated for just three months from December 2004 to March 2005.

The Ho Chi Minh City route is operated as a code-share with Pacific Airlines in which Qantas has an 18% stake. Qantas has a 49% share in Jetstar Asia with the other shareholders being Tony Chew (22%), Temasek Holdings (19%) and FF Wong (10%).

Early starts and late finishes

According to the timetable on the airline’s own website an aircraft rotation plan can be deduced that shows how each of the five aircraft will be operated from early February. Most days of the week all five aircraft are in the air by 07:30 and most return after 23:00.

Chart: CHT Rotation

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