|Hubs||Singapore Changi Airport|
|Parent company||Westbrook Investments|
|Headquarters||Singapore Changi Airport|
|Key people||Barathan Pasupathi (CEO)|
Valuair (Chinese: 惠旅航空) is a Singapore-based low-cost carrier. It was launched in 2004, offering initial services to Bangkok and Hong Kong. It differentiates itself from other low-cost carriers in that it offers frills such as a baggage allowance of over 20 kg, in-flight food, allocated seats, and 32 inch seat pitch. Acquired in 2005 by Jetstar Asia Airways, the Valuair brand is retained for Jetstar Asia's scheduled services to major cities in Indonesia.
Valuair was the first low-cost airline to begin operations in Singapore, although some do not consider it as such by other definitions. Launching its first flight on May 5, 2004, it was funded by local businessmen, and had the expertise of an ex-Singapore Airlines employee as its chief executive.
Valuair sought to differentiate itself from its competitors such as then-rival Jetstar Asia and Tiger Airways by offering free hot meals, wider legroom and assigned seating, and marketed itself as a low-fare airline. The airline flew beyond the traditional five-hour radius typical of low-cost carriers and flew to destinations like Perth, Xiamen and Chengdu. The airline even had ambitious plans flying to Australia's East Coast and Northeast Asia using wide-body aircraft. In its plans, a Business Class and cargo operations was even thought of. However, rising fuel prices, along with lack of financial backing and the deep pockets of Qantas' Jetstar Asia and Singapore Airlines-backed Tiger Airways finally forced the airline to concede defeat in the highly-competitive local scene.
On 24 July 2005, the carrier announced plans to merge with Jetstar Asia. Both Jetstar Asia, a Qantas-backed airline, and Valuair were planning to operate their respective routes normally for the foreseeable future. The announcement came after several weeks of speculation about consolidation within Southeast Asia's low-cost airline industry.
Valuair and Jetstar Asia merge
On 24 July 2005, Jetstar Asia and Valuair merged to form Orange Star, in the first major consolidation of Southeast Asia's crowded low-cost airline industry. Jetstar Asia and Valuair said they would continue to operate their normal routes under their own brands in the meantime, with little or no change to the service offered by either airline. Qantas chief executive officer and Jetstar Asia chairman Geoff Dixon chaired the new company. Jetstar Asia chief executive officer Chong Phit Lian was appointed as the chief executive of both airlines. The new company was to receive a cash injection of more than S$50 million in fresh capital into the new entity, largely to be provided by Qantas. Shareholders of Valuair, including airline industry veteran Lim Chin Beng, Malaysia's Star Cruises and Asiatravel.com, have now become minority shareholders in the merged company.
From 11 September 2005, Valuair began flying twice daily from Singapore to Jakarta. The new daily flight began as VF208 from Singapore to Jakarta, and VF207 from Jakarta to Singapore. As of 1 February 2008, flights to Jakarta increased to four times daily. From 23 October 2005, Valuair commenced daily flights from Singapore to Surabaya, VF531 operated from Singapore to Surabaya, and VF532 vice versa. Flights to Hong Kong were suspended.
From 26 January 2006, Valuair commenced three weekly flights from Singapore to Denpasar Bali. As at 1 February 2008, the service has been upgraded to become four times per week.
Valuair today only flies to Indonesian destinations - namely Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya and Denpasar. In response to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore's rejection of AirAsia-backed airline Indonesia Air Asia's application to fly to Singapore, Indonesia embarked on a policy of protectionism. This prohibited low-cost carriers of Singapore and Indonesia from adding more flights. Jetstar Asia had not yet established routes into Indonesia, so the merger is seen as the airline's strategy to get an early entrance into the lucrative Indonesian market.
Valuair flights are operated by Jetstar Asia crew, with the in-flight menu and entertainment virtually the same as Jetstar Asia's. Sometimes, JetStar flights are used with Valuair aircraft.
In February 2008, Jetstar Asia announced that it would begin flights to Medan later in the year. As existing protectionism policies are in place, the flights were operated under Valuair's code.
Jetstar Asia is a majority Singapore owned and based company. The company is managed by Newstar Holdings Pty Ltd, majority owned by Singapore company Westbrook Investments Pte Ltd (51 per cent), with the Qantas Group holding the remaining 49 per cent of shares.
Valuair currently offers flights between its base in Singapore to Jakarta, Denpasar and Surabaya, with Bangkok as a codeshare with Jetstar Asia. Since the merger with Jetstar Asia, the airline has cut routes to Perth, Hong Kong, Xiamen, Chengdu and Bangkok, as part of a consolidation exercise between both airlines.
The following list shows all current and former destinations, including the city served, the country, the airport, and the begin and end year of the service.
|Singapore||Singapore||Singapore Changi Airport (base)||5 May 2004||present|
|Denpasar||Indonesia||Ngurah Rai Airport||27 January 2006||present|
|Jakarta||Indonesia||Soekarno-Hatta International Airport||23 October 2005||present|
|Medan||Indonesia||Kuala Namu International Airport||25 July 2013||present|
|Surabaya||Indonesia||Juanda International Airport||23 October 2005||present|
|Medan||Indonesia||Polonia International Airport||30 March 2008||24 July 2013|
|Bangkok||Thailand||Bangkok International Airport||5 May 2004||November 2005|
|Chengdu||China||Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport||20 April 2005||30 October 2005|
|Hong Kong||Hong Kong||Hong Kong International Airport||7 May 2004||23 October 2005|
|Perth||Australia||Perth Airport||1 December 2004||9 October 2005|
|Xiamen||China||Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport||25 April 2005||30 October 2005|
As of January 2014, the Jetstar Asia Airways fleet includes the following aircraft:
||Aircraft are operated by Jetstar Asia Airways|
Passengers may purchase food and beverage on board from the cabin crew as part of a buy on board programme. On flights operated by Valuair, passengers may only consume food and drinks purchased onboard unless passengers have special dietary needs. Prior to merger, meal and drinks were included in the ticket charge.
- "Singapore Air Operators." (Archive) Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore. Retrieved on 31 October 2012. "#034-30 Passenger Terminal Building 1, Level 3, Southwest Finger, Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore 918141"
- List of Aircraft on Singapore Register
- "In the air." Jetstar Asia Airways. Accessed 10 November 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Valuair.|