25/06/2008 - 22:00

Jetstar Perth’s latest low-cost carrier

25/06/2008 - 22:00

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Access to low-cost airlines in Western Australia continues to improve following news that Qantas' budget subsidiary, Jetstar, will start international services from Perth later this year and establish a Perth crew base to support its new services.

Jetstar Perth’s latest low-cost carrier

Access to low-cost airlines in Western Australia continues to improve following news that Qantas' budget subsidiary, Jetstar, will start international services from Perth later this year and establish a Perth crew base to support its new services.

Jetstar group general manager commercial, Bruce Buchanan, made the announcement in Perth last week at the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE), the Australian tourism industry's largest trade show.

From October 27, Jetstar will commence three to four times weekly A320 services between Perth-Denpasar and three times weekly A320 services between Perth-Jakarta.

Mr Buchanan also announced that Jetstar was establishing a Perth crew base to support these services, housing the airline's pilots, cabin crew and maintenance staff.

The new services marked the airline's first international services from Perth, and its entry into Jakarta.

Jetstar currently offers double daily domestic services between Melbourne and Perth, a service which started in March 2006.

The new Jetstar services will replace Qantas services as part of the group's development of its two-brand strategy, and will result in a 5 per cent increase in capacity.

Qantas group general manager sales and distribution, Rob Gurney, said the airline industry was facing significant challenges, with the price of jet fuel doubling during the past 12 months.

Mr Gurney said the airline was looking at cost-saving measures on its domestic services and reviewing capacity on international services.

"The cost of fuel will change the way Qantas does business over the next two years," he said.

Other changes to the group's WA services include the replacement of Boeing 747-300 aircraft on the Perth-Sydney and Perth-Melbourne routes with A330-200 aircraft, starting next month.

Previously underserviced by low-cost carriers compared with other states, WA has gradually increased its access to budget air travel over the past 18 months.

Singapore-based low-cost carrier Tiger Airways entered the WA market in March 2007 with four times a week Perth-Singapore services.

Two months later, the Singapore Airlines subsidiary increased that to a daily service, and in December made its WA foray into the domestic travel market with flights to Melbourne.

The introduction of Tiger has been credited as the main driver for the increase in inbound traffic from Singapore, with a 14 per cent increase in passenger numbers from Singapore to WA in the year to March 2008.

Malaysian-based budget carrier AirAsia X marked its entry into the WA market by launching six flights a week service between Perth and Kuala Lumpur from November, with a view to daily services by March 2009.

Tourism Minister Sheila McHale believes the deal may inject up to $100 million into the WA economy in its first year alone.

Malaysia is one of WA's key international tourist markets, making up roughly 6 per cent of international arrivals.

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