Cut-price airline Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd today announced its entry into the WA market with a daily service to Melbourne to commence in March this year.The new 'daylight' service, to commence on March 28, will operate between Perth Domestic Airport and Melbourne's Avalon Airport, situated some 55 kilometres west of Melbourne.The service will include a flight from Melbourne to Perth arriving at 4.25pm each day and a late afternoon return flight departing at 5.10pm from Perth.Jetstar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Qantas, will add almost 2,500 new seats a week to the busy Perth-Melbourne route with the new service and place pressure on Virgin Blue in the discount fare market space.Jetstar believes the cut-price service is likely to attract a large number of first time flyers (and in-frequent flyers) who may have previously found air travel unaffordable and said this was evidenced in Jetstar's passenger figures on its existing routes.Announcing the new service, Jetstar acting chief executive Bruce Buchanan said that the carrier's ability to tap into a new consumer market and have an impact on travel numbers has the clear potential to be mirrored in Perth. "With the Perth-Melbourne air corridor being the existing 7th busiest in Australia, Jetstar has real confidence that our market entry into Western Australia will be well received by the travelling public," he said. The service may also appeal to the corporate market with business travelers able to put in a day at the office in Perth before taking the flight to Melbourne for business the next day.However, the prospect of an extended drive from Avalon into the Melbourne CBD may weigh against this. Commenting at the launch at Perth Airport, Acting Premier Eric Ripper said that the introduction of Jetstar into the WA market would put the state on an even footing with the rest of the country when it came to budget flights."Jetstar's low fares will inject competition into the market and make WA a viable option for those people who have long had this state at the top of their wish list, but have been deterred by flight costs," he said.The Government is hoping that the new service will translate into increased tourism visitors to the state.Jetstar will operate Airbus A320 aircraft on the route and in-flight audio and video entertainment, along with a selection of food and beverages will be available for sale. To mark the new service a special introductory fare of $99 one way between Perth-Melbourne will be made available.
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