The Board of Qantas Airways has approved the establishment of a new long haul value based airline under the Jetstar brand.
CEO of Qantas, Geoff Dixon, said Jetstar would commence its international operations no later than January 2007.
Dixon said the Qantas Board had also called a special meeting for Wednesday, 14 December, to further consider its long term fleet plan.
“This meeting is expected to discuss and approve major aircraft purchases, including the new aircraft for Jetstar’s international operations,” he said.
Dixon said Jetstar’s initial route structure would require 10 aircraft and would involve point-to-point routes between Australia and Asian and Pacific cities.
“Subsequent expansion will see Jetstar undertake two-stage flying to European and other destinations.
“At all times Jetstar’s international services will complement Qantas’ mainline international operations, with an emphasis on inbound and outbound leisure routes,” he said.
Dixon said Qantas expected that, within five years, the Jetstar Group would be operating a fleet of 60 narrow and wide body aircraft across its domestic and international network.
“However, this expansion will not be in any way at the expense of the Qantas full service domestic and international operations.
“Our aim for the Group is to expand in our traditional markets with Qantas and to expand in new markets with the most suitable product, be it Qantas or Jetstar.
“The Qantas mainline operations are and will remain our primary focus,” he said.
Dixon said Jetstar’s international operations would be based in Melbourne under Jetstar’s existing Australian management, with Alan Joyce as Chief Executive Officer.
“This move will create an additional 50 jobs immediately through the extension of the airline’s head office in Melbourne. Hundreds of additional jobs will be created within Australia in the first three years of its operation,” he said.
Dixon said Jetstar would immediately commence the process of upgrading its Air Operator Certificate to operate wide bodied jet aircraft.
“We believe Jetstar will deliver the lowest cost air operations of any international carrier operating to Australia, similar to our experience with Jetstar’s Australian operations.”
Dixon said Jetstar’s international launch network would focus on destinations within six to 10 hours of Australia.
“Jetstar will have opportunities to fly to destinations already served by Qantas mainline, but from alternative Australian ports to the current Qantas services.
“We expect to make an announcement about initial routes in mid-2006.”
Mr Dixon said Jetstar was on track to operate with its full Airbus A320 fleet of 23 aircraft for Australian domestic and trans-Tasman operations by mid-2006.
“Jetstar will also continue to look for opportunities to expand further in the Australian domestic and New Zealand markets,” he said.
Dixon said that as well as complementing Qantas’ mainline operations, Jetstar would work closely with Jetstar Asia on opportunities in the intra-Asia market.
He said Australian Airlines would continue to supplement Qantas’ mainline operations, principally on inbound and leisure markets.
Alan Joyce said Jetstar would offer two classes of travel on its international operations - Economy Class and StarClass (premium economy).
He said Jetstar’s international product would feature:
* assigned seating with online seat selection at jetstar.com;
* baggage interlining for international connections on selected airlines, in line with Jetstar’s trans-Tasman product;
* an expanded range of meals and snacks, including hot meals and local cuisine, which would be complimentary in StarClass and available for purchase on board or pre-purchase via jetstar.com in Economy Class;
* video on demand;
* the ability to earn Frequent Flyer points and Status Credit points on Jetflex and StarClass fares;
* a Qantas codeshare arrangement on all flights, giving Qantas Frequent Flyers the ability to redeem award points on Jetstar flights; and
* access to Qantas Club lounges for Qantas Club members.
“The StarClass product will offer a seat similar to Qantas Domestic Business Class and a range of other benefits such as higher baggage allowances and priority boarding,” Mr Joyce said.
“Customers appreciate extra levels of comfort and space for longer haul flights, so we believe StarClass will offer a valuable option for Jetstar’s international travellers.”
Mr Joyce said Jetstar’s long haul services would offer a real growth opportunity for the Australian tourism industry.
“We will be working closely with Tourism Australia and state tourism organisations to promote Australia in our new overseas markets,” he said.