Jetstar Airways Sets Sights On China
Jetstar Airways – sights set on major expansion into China – flew its first flight to Beijing Thursday.
Channel NewsAsia reports that Jetstar, the budget unit of troubled air carrier Qantas, “has set its sights on expanding in China next year to overtake competitors like AirAsia.”
China will be Jetstar’s “prime growth market” in 2012, according to Channel NewsAsia.
The airline’s Thursday flight from Singapore to Beijing made it the first to fly that route on a budget fare. However, AirAsia-X’s launch of the same feat is imminent, Channel NewsAsia said.
Jetstar’s capacity to mainland China increased 30 percent in 2010 and will further increase by 150 percent this year with the new Beijing flight, as well as a Guangzhou flight starting next month, according to Channel NewsAsia.
Chong Phit Lian, CEO of Jetstar Asia Airways, told reporters, "I would say our focus to grow in China will be our main drive for growth. We have set an internal target among ourselves - that China 1212 means 12 destinations in Greater China in 2012."
JetStar, with 30 percent earnings growth in 2011, is a floater among many sinkers in its industry.
"History has shown that low fare carriers tend to do well in tougher economic climates. People still like to travel; people will trade down to travel, and if we are able to offer more competitive prices, that will stimulate demand,” David Hall, CEO of Australia & New Zealand Jetstar, told reporters.
Hall added, "We're coming into a very busy season with Christmas and Chinese New Year, so the outlook for this quarter is strong.”