Jetstar Asia Airways
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|Hubs||Singapore Changi Airport|
|Frequent-flyer program||Qantas Frequent Flyer|
|Parent company||Westbrook Investments (51%)|
|Headquarters||Singapore Changi Airport|
Jetstar Asia Airways Pte Ltd (operating as Jetstar Asia) is a low-cost airline based in Singapore. It is one of the Asian offshoots of parent Jetstar Airways, the low-cost subsidiary airline of Australia's Qantas airline. It operates services to regional destinations in Southeast Asia to countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. It also flies to regional routes in East Asia such as Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. It is the main feeder airline for its parent company Jetstar Airways for budget passengers flying to Australia. Its sister airlines include Jetstar in New Zealand, Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam) and Jetstar Japan.
Jetstar Asia was launched in 2004 as a partnership between Qantas, holding a 49% stake in the airline, Singaporean businessmen Tony Chew (22%) and FF Wong (10%) and the Singapore government's investment company, Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited (19%). It received its Air Operator's Certificate from the Singapore government on 19 November 2004.
Due to its belated entry into the market, the airline differentiated itself from its competitors by flying further; anywhere within a 5-hour radius from Singapore while its competitors flew to destinations within a 4-hour radius from Singapore. The airline announced 7 routes to Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Pattaya, Jakarta, Surabaya and Manila; the most ambitious start-up plan compared to any of its Asian rivals, which would have given it the widest international coverage.
Online ticketing commenced at 0800 hours (8GMT) on 7 December 2004, a day after the first three routings and their promotional prices were announced, namely S$48 (HK$228) to Hong Kong, S$88 (NT1788) to Taipei and S$28 (Bht725) to Pattaya on a one-way ticket for all seats in the first week of operations as each routing was launched. Flights to Manila began in 2005. As part of its differentiation, Jetstar flew to Ninoy Aquino International Airport instead of the cheaper Clark International Airport in Angeles City.
However, services to certain announced destinations (Shanghai, Jakarta and Surabaya) could not be started. The non-start of flights to Shanghai was because China's aviation authority did not allow foreign budget airlines flying to both Shanghai and Beijing airports. Flights to Indonesia were not allowed as Indonesia's government embarked a policy of protectionism. Existing flights by low-fare airlines, such as Valuair's flights to Jakarta and Denpasar as well as Tiger Airways' service to Padang, were not revoked.
Despite facing a difficult market, Jetstar Asia took delivery of a fifth aircraft in 2005 and sought approval for new routes. Jetstar planned to lease the aircraft from Atlasjet Airways, but the aircraft was later withdrawn from the lease arrangement. Discussions were held with Qantas to source additional aircraft. In 2005, the budget carrier began seeking approval from Cambodian authorities to fly to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and was eventually granted rights.
Hot on the heels of Tiger Airways' success on the Phuket route, Jetstar Asia announced 4 times weekly flights to Phuket. The flight commenced on 25 October 2005, however due to inconsistent demand and better opportunities elsewhere, Jetstar announced the suspension of flights to Phuket on 27 March 2008.
By the end of December, it was clear that Jetstar Asia was bleeding cash and its investors were struggling to finance the airline. On 2 December 2005, Jetstar Asia announced that its chief executive officer (CEO), Ken Ryan, was stepping down to return to Australia. Mr Ryan would take on a new management role at Orange Star's majority shareholder Qantas and was replaced at the helm by Neil Thompson. On 9 February 2006, Jetstar Asia appointed Singaporean Chong Phit Lian as the airline's new CEO, replacing interim CEO Neil Thompson.
On 26 July 2006, Qantas decided to re-position both of its Jetstar ventures in Australia and Singapore as a single brand. This was followed by a launch of Jetstar's long-haul operations to six destinations in South-east Asia from Australia.
On 16 April 2008, Jetstar Asia announced that it had reported a profit ahead of schedule, and ahead of local rival Tiger Airways. Both Jetstar Asia and sister airline Valuair saw a 20% increase in revenue, a 4% rise in passenger load and an overall 20% jump in passenger carriage for the year ending March 2008. The airline's CEO attributes its success to better brand awareness as well as an increased utilisation of aircraft, growing revenue and a broadening of the earning base.
On 16 April 2008, the company announced that it had achieved profitability for the year ended 31 March 2008, with an increase of 20% in the number of passengers carried and a passenger load factor of over 75%, an increase of 4% over the previous year. Jetstar Asia carried 2.7 million passengers during the year to 30 June 2011, an increase of 18% on the previous year, and saw Revenue passenger kilometres increase by 39.7%, as long-haul flights from Singapore to Auckland and Melbourne using Airbus A330 aircraft were launched.
In March 2011, Jetstar launched flights to Hangzhou, China.
Merger with Valuair
Jetstar Asia and Valuair, another Singapore-based airline, merged on 24 July 2005, in the first major consolidation of South-east Asia's crowded and competitive low-cost airline industry. The airlines released a joint statement saying 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 CEO and Jetstar Asia chairman Geoff Dixon chaired the new company. Jetstar Asia CEO Chong Phit Lian was appointed as the chief executive of both airlines. The new company was due to receive a cash injection of more than 50 million Singapore dollars 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, Orange Star. Qantas owns 42.5% of both airlines after the merger.
On October 2014, following the Indonesian Government lifting operational restrictions on foreign-owned low-cost carriers into Indonesia. Valuair was dissolved and its flights were taken over by Jetstar Asia on 26 October 2014.
Pre-merger history of Valuair
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.
In December 2011 the airline announced that CEO Chong Phit Lian was to step down from 1 February 2012 after leading the airline for six years, to pursue opportunities outside the aviation sector. Ms Chong remained a member of the Jetstar Asia board; meanwhile Paul Daff, formerly head of Jetconnect, the Qantas Group subsidiary airline in New Zealand and previously Head of Commercial for Jetstar Asia, acted as Interim CEO while a successor was recruited.
In March 2012 it was announced that Mr Barathan (Bara) Pasupathi, former CFO of Jetstar Asia, had been appointed as CEO to take effect from 2 July 2012.
The ownership structure is composed of Westbrook Investments (51%) and Qantas Group (49%). Newstar Holdings is the holding company that operates and manages Jetstar in Singapore.
In addition to the above codeshare arrangements, Jetstar Asia also has interline arrangements with the following airlines:
- Air France
- Air Mauritius
- British Airways
- China Southern Airlines
- Fiji Airways
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
As of 31 January 2019, the Jetstar Asia Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft:
Jetstar Asia aircraft feature leather seats with an average seat pitch of 29 inches. Passengers may select a seat prior to their flight for a fee.
Food and beverage
Passengers may purchase food and beverages on board from the Jetstar Café menu. Menus will vary depending on flight length, and destination. On Jetstar Asia flights, both cash and credit card payments are accepted.
Passengers who have added a Plus, Max or Flexibiz bundle to the Starter fare, a meal or in-flight voucher may be included, depending on the flight. In-flight vouchers can be used to purchase duty-free items from Jetshop.
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