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Old November 23rd, 2005, 02:34 PM   #1141
ignoramus
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From Singapore Changi Airport

Jetstar Asia Airways = 9 Destinations
Valuair = 2 Destinations
Orange Star = 11 Destinations

Tiger Airways = 11 Destinations

Interesting to note that just a few months or a year back, Jetstar Asia Airways was complaining about a lack of traffic rights...

From Kuala Lumpur International Airport

AirAsia = 27 Destinations (Domestic & International)

Still A LONG WAY TO GO FOR SINGAPORE BASED BUDGET CARRIERS!

Last edited by ignoramus; November 23rd, 2005 at 02:42 PM.
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 05:04 PM   #1142
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Whats the difference between Orange star and Jetstar? I thought they were the same airlines? orange star is Jetstar right?

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Old November 24th, 2005, 12:37 AM   #1143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David-80
Whats the difference between Orange star and Jetstar? I thought they were the same airlines? orange star is Jetstar right?

Orange Star is the company which owns both Valuair and Jetstar. He said that it has 11 destinations which is a combination of both airlines current destinations.

It is however likely that Valuair will be folded into the Jetstar Asia brand when LCCs can fly into Indonesias main cities.
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Old November 24th, 2005, 12:41 AM   #1144
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Belgian probe calls Ryanair execs for questioning

BRUSSELS, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Belgian investigators have called two Ryanair executives for questioning in a fraud probe at a local promotional company partly owned by the Irish discount airline, a prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Charleroi public prosecutor Nabil Sanaji said the examining magistrate leading the investigation had called on Chief Operating Officer Michael Cawley and Bernard Berger, head of flights development, to answer questions.

Sanaji said the examining magistrate was looking into suspected fraud and misuse of funds at to the promotional company, known as Promocy.

"We want to know if the money was diverted into some other pocket than airport services," he told Reuters, confirming reports published earlier in the day in two regional newspapers.

The investigation did not imply any wrongdoing on the part of the executives or the airline, he added.

Promocy Chairman Laurent Jossart said he knew of the investigation but did not know what it was about.

"We do not understand what they are looking for," he told Reuters. "For us, everything is relatively clear at the fiscal and legal levels."

Promocy is jointly owned by Ryanair and Brussels South Charleroi Airport, the airport operator in the southern city where the airline has one of its European hubs.

Promocy is in charge of publicising flights and fares in Belgium. Cawley is its managing director.

Pierre Fernement, a spokesman for the airport operator, said it was collaborating with the investigation and some of its executives had already been questioned. The operator denied any wrongdoing, he said.

Ryanair could not immediately comment.
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Old November 24th, 2005, 12:42 AM   #1145
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Ryanair changes policy on blind and partially-sighted passengers

LONDON, Nov 23 (AFP) - Low-cost airline Ryanair is to change its policy on carrying blind and partially-sighted passengers following criticism for ejecting a group of blind travellers from a flight.

Any vision-impaired passenger accompanied by a sighted companion would now no longer be required to inform the airline in advance, the Irish carrier announced in what it called a "commonsense change".

But those travelling alone would remain part of its limit on four reduced-mobility passengers per flight, according to the Dublin-headquartered company which has major bases at Stansted and Luton airports, north of London.

Disabled groups criticised Ryanair last month after a group of nine blind and partially-sighted people were taken off an Italy-bound flight at Stansted airport in September.

The airline said at the time the four-person quota had been reached. It denied discrimination and said it was only complying with safety guidelines that require aircraft to be evacuated within 90 seconds in case of emergency.

The new rules follow consultation with the National Council for the Blind of Ireland.

Des Kenny, the council's chief executive, applauded the move and described it as a "major step forward" for the European aviaition industry.

"I hope that other airlines will follow Ryanair's example," he added.

The change is subject to approval from the Irish Aviation Authority but the airline anticipates they will be given the go-ahead in the coming weeks, a Ryanair spokeswoman told AFP Wednesday.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 05:59 AM   #1146
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Nov 25, 2005
Jet Airways not out to be low-cost airline
The Indian carrier, which is set to expand, hopes to offer value for money

By Karamjit Kaur
Transport Correspondent

JET Airways will fly daily between Singapore and Chennai, India, from Dec 7.

But those hoping for major discounts will be disappointed because the Indian private airline, which started serving the Singapore-Mumbai market in July, is not out to be a cheap airline.

Still, more competition should ease prices, said Mr V. Raja, the airline's vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region.

He told The Straits Times in an interview on Wednesday: 'We are not here to drive prices down. What we offer is value for money.

'But with more competition, prices will settle down after a while and find their own level. Where that is, we do not know.'

But Jet Airways is cheaper than Singapore Airlines (SIA), barring special promotions when the Singapore carrier offers limited return tickets to India for under $500.

SIA's regular fare, according to its website, is $900, excluding taxes and surcharges, for a return flight to Mumbai. It is the same for Chennai.

Jet Airways' fare to Mumbai, according to its website, is $700. It will be the same fare for Chennai.

But those who book before the start of the Chennai service will pay $600 each, if two travel together.

Other airlines that also serve the Singapore-India market include Air Sahara, Air India and Indian Airlines.

For travellers like Indian expatriate Dipita Singh, 28, who flies home at least once a year, the draw of Jet is its service level.

The housewife, whose husband works here, said: 'The service standards are very good. Many people want to fly only SIA to India. But Jet is now also a very good option.'

Jet Airways aspires to be as good as, if not better than SIA, said Mr Raja. 'There is no shame in wanting to emulate somebody who is good. In fact, we want to be better.'

Set up just 12 years ago, the airline - India's largest domestic carrier by market share - has a pool of about 600 cabin crew.

About 30 of them are based here and more than half are ex-SIA staff, he said.

There are also ex-SIA staff in the airline's training unit.

Changi Airport will be the airline's regional hub, said Mr Raja.

He added: 'Singapore is the obvious choice for us with its many links. Changi is also one of the best in the world.'

Jet Airways also wants fifth freedom air rights from the Singapore Government so that it can carry passengers beyond Singapore, he said.

For competitive reasons, he did not want to specify the beyond-Singapore destinations that the airline is keen on.

India's aviation industry is booming.

Jet Airways, which now has more than 50 aircraft in its fleet, is expected to hire nearly 600 pilots, 2,200 cabin crew and 800 engineers in the next five years.

[email protected]

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 06:24 AM   #1147
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Good growth reflected in 21% rise in passengers and revenues up 23%
Corporate Press Release
22 November 2005

Profits benefit from acceleration in cost reductions

* Profit before tax up 11% in H2, up 9% for full year to £68m (£62m)
* Reported earnings per share up by 3% to 10.7p
* Passenger numbers up 21% to 29.6m with load factor improved to 85.2% from 84.5%
* Total revenue per seat up 2% to £38.66
* Ancillary revenue per seat ahead by 17% reflecting our continued focus in this area
* Fuel cost per seat up 68% in H2, up 47% for full year
* Reduction in cost base accelerated with cost per seat ex-fuel and goodwill amortisation down 7% in H2 and 4% for the year, with reductions achieved in all key areas.
* Network developing rapidly with 72 new routes added in last year, giving a total of 212.
* Strong growth in continental Europe, revenue up 78% with Germany on track

Commenting on the results and prospects, Ray Webster, Chief Executive, said:

“We’ve made sound progress in the year with good growth in passenger numbers and revenue. Despite the fuel price increases we’ve minimised the rise in costs and, excluding fuel, our cost base per seat has fallen by a useful 4.4%: indeed we accelerated our reduction in ex-fuel costs during the year, clearly benefiting our profits. I’m pleased also with the expansion of our network and with 72 new routes added we are in good shape for future growth.

“In the current financial year we expect to deliver capacity growth, measured by available seats, of 15%. Our strong focus on controllable costs will continue and should result in a 3-5% reduction in cost per seat, before fuel. While we anticipate a slight reduction in total revenue per seat, ancillary revenues will improve with double digit percentage growth supported by a series of new initiatives. Overall, we therefore expect to achieve mid to high single-digit percentage profit growth.”
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Old November 26th, 2005, 03:31 PM   #1148
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From Singapore Changi Airport

Orange Star (Jetstar Asia Airways & Valuair)
- Bangkok
- Hong Kong
- Jakarta (Valuair)
- Kolkata
- Manila
- Phnom Penh
- Phuket
- Siem Reap
- Surabaya (Valuair)
- Taipei
- Yangon
= 11 International Destinations

Tiger Airways

From Singapore Changi Airport
- Bangkok
- Chiang Mai
- Danang
- Darwin
- Hanoi
- Hat Yai
- Ho Chi Minh City
- Krabi
- Macau
- Manila
- Padang
- Phuket
= 12 International Destinations

From Manila Clark Airport
- Macau
= 1 International Destination
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Old November 26th, 2005, 04:30 PM   #1149
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Easyjet warns France on air tax
By PEGGY HOLLINGER
26 November 2005
Financial Times

Easyjet yesterday warned that its investment in France could be threatened by the government's decision this week to press ahead with a controversial plan to impose a tax on airline tickets to fund development aid for poor countries.

France has decided to impose a tax of between Euros 1 and Euros 40 (Dollars 47, Pounds 27) a ticket from next July, despite failing to win European support for the idea, first proposed by President Jacques Chirac earlier this year as a measure to fight global poverty. International air carriers, such as Air France/KLM, have strongly opposed the plan, fearing it willl deter passengers from taking air transport.

Yesterday Easyjet said the tax would "have a considerable impact on the French air passenger market and on the several millions we could invest to develop new lines ... This tax will simply add to already deteriorating economic conditions in France."

Peggy Hollinger, Paris
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Old November 27th, 2005, 08:38 AM   #1150
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Source : http://www.pbase.com/toptag/muc&page=all



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Old November 29th, 2005, 04:21 AM   #1151
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This story was printed from TODAYonline

Jetstar discounts to mark 1st anniversary

Tuesday • November 29, 2005

Singapore-based budget carrier Jetstar Asia yesterday said it would offer fare discounts on all its nine routes as part of its first anniversary celebrations.

The discounts will be available for booking immediately until Dec 13, the airline said. Jetstar Asia launched commercial flights on Dec 13 last year.

Under the promotion, fares to Phuket or Bangkok are $18, the fare to Hong Kong is $68 and the fare to Taipei is $88. Flights to Manila and Kolkata are $98, while those to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are $138. Tickets to Yangon, offered on a round-trip basis, are $208. All trips must be completed between Jan 2 and June 30 next year.

— Dow Jones

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old November 29th, 2005, 02:48 PM   #1152
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29 November 2005

Jetstar Asia turns one, to focus on Indonesia, Malaysia, India
By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : One year after operation, low-cost carrier Jetstar Asia has its focus fixed on Indonesia, Malaysia and India, where it hopes to expand its operations once skies open up.

The company is building up the Jetstar Asia brand as a single brand, its CEO Ken Ryan told Channel NewsAsia.

It has been a turbulent first year for Jetstar Asia, with soaring fuel prices, cut-throat competition, closed skies and a highly publicised July merger with Valuair.

Following the tie-up, 70 staff have left, and although the two carriers have been operating as two brands under one organisation, Valuair's flights have been slowly dropped.

It now no longer flies to Perth, Chengdu, Xiamen, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

Valuair now only flies to Indonesian cities Jakarta, Surabaya and shortly, Denpasar.

But once Indonesia lifts its ban on other budget carriers and Jetstar gets to go in, are Valuair's days numbered?

Said Mr Ryan, "We will not do away with the Valuair brand until as such time when it would not jeopardise the air traffic rights that Jetstar Asia cannot get access to. Ultimately, we would like to see a single brand and Jetstar Asia is that brand."

Meantime, the Jetstar brand has evolved, taking on elements of some full-service carriers.

For example, it has code sharing with Qantas, which means a passenger can fly to Singapore and go on to other destinations such as Phuket and Kolkatta on Jetstar.

So what sort of carrier is Jetstar Asia now? All its CEO would say is that it is a low-fare carrier that will continue to adapt as the circumstances dictate.

For now, its expansion plans focus on the routes the company already has.

It also has a wish list for certain areas, once the skies are open.

Mr Ryan said, "It is opening up to some new destinations -- Kuala Lumpur is a prime example and other cities in Malaysia. It is opening up Indonesian cities -- these are prime; it is India traffic rights which are quite constrained now."

The tough times not withstanding, Jetstar is looking beyond the turbulence and still hopes to break even and perhaps turn profitable inside three years. - CNA /ct

Copyright © 2005 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old November 29th, 2005, 03:24 PM   #1153
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Guess we now know that there will eventually be two singapore based budget carriers, each backed by a full service airline...byebye Valuair, I always loved your blue livery, nice name (as compared to Tiger) and cool looking website.
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Old November 29th, 2005, 04:40 PM   #1154
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'Ryanair left us like stray dogs to run about
I'll never fly with them again'
Airline attacked as Scots are stranded in Germany

Allan Laing
29 November 2005
The Herald

AGROUP of Scots stranded by Ryanair in Germany arrived home yesterday after a gruelling 36-hour road and rail journey across Europe and said they would never again use the budget airline.

Faced with the prospect of having to wait for the next available flight - which they were told would be on Thursday - and having been offered a refund of [GBP]5 each, the 38strong church group defiantly made their own arrangements to travel the 1000 miles home.

They were among 180 passengers with the Irish no-frills carrierwhose Prestwick-bound flight from Hamburg-Lubeck was cancelled due to "technical problems". The airline's apologies failed to satisfy the group, and it may have breached European legislation by refusing to offer hotel accommodation or any meals.

The group from Muirkirk, Ayrshire, who had been on a shopping trip to the German Christmas markets, jumped on a service bus into Hamburg city centre. There they boarded a train to Brussels, transferred to the Eurostar train to Euston and then took a Virgin train to Glasgow Central.

Angry, tired but extremely relieved to be home, Hugh McGarey, 68, said yesterday:

"Ryanair just left us like stray dogs to run about. It was terrible the way they treated us. I'll never fly with that airline again."

Rae Howat, a pensioner, said: "They completely abandoned us. No-one showed any concern about us whatsoever.

They wouldn't give us a penny for meals or anything. No-one representing Ryanair came to see us or talk to us. So we just decided to make our own way home."

The St Thomas's Church group, among them many elderly people who did not have credit cards, had to pay out more than [GBP]300 each for their train journey back to Scotland. By the time they reached Glasgow - their train almost an hour late - they were exhausted.

There to greet the party at the station was David Loy whose mother, Theresa, 72, and 82-year-old aunt Mary Murray, were among the passengers.

Hugging his mother, a relieved Mr Loy said: "It is an absolute disgrace what these people have been put through.

"My mother has a heart condition and is waiting for a hip replacement.

"I was extremely worried about her . . . Ryanair keeps coming up with all theirwonderful figures about howmuch they make and their passenger numbers but all they're doing is putting profitability before passenger welfare. We shall certainly be considering the legal position."

Among the group was Jimmy Kelly, 67, a Muirkirk councillor who said that he would be taking the matter up with the local MP. He said:

"The way they (Ryanair) treated us, well, you'd treat a dog better. They didn't care howwe would get home."

Members of the group also revealed how they had to sit in the departure lounge at Hamburg for five hours with no information, and with only a "delayed" sign showing against their flight. They only found out the flight was cancelled when one passenger's husband phoned from Scotland, telling her that the message was on Ryanair's website.

The fate of the other Prestwick-bound passengers was unknown last night though, like the Muirkirk group, most had decided to cut their losses and make their own way home.

Annette MacKay, a Glasgow teacherwho had gone to Hamburg with her husband Ian for a one-night break, said they had slept in the airport overnight on Sunday before flying to Milan to catch a connecting flight yesterday.

"Ryanair said they would pay for one flight. So they paid for us to get to Milan. Then, when we got to the Ryanair check in desk at Milan, we had to pay [GBP]120 each to get back to Glasgow, " she said.

Ryanair said it had offered passengers their money back.

In the case of the Muirkirk group at least, this amounted to [GBP]5 each.

The firm added it was "not company policy" to provide accommodation and meals.

"We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused our passengers, " said a spokesman.

However, it was clear yesterday that the Dublin-based airline could face compensation claims from the passengers.

A spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents said: "If an airline cancels your flight, unless it is for reasons of 'force majeur' - and a plane 'going tech' doesn't usually count - then you are entitled to compensation under new rules which were introduced in February."

However, an official at the Air Transport Users' Council said that while the new rules were legally binding, some airlines interpreted them differently from others.

The Epic journey

1 Lubeck: Flight cancelled.
2 Passengers take a service bus to Hamburg
3 From Hamburg they board a train to Brussels
4 Then travel from Brussels to London on a Eurostar train
5 The final journey to Glasgow is via a Virgin train.
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 11:12 AM   #1155
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02 December 2005

Ken Ryan steps down as Jetstar Asia CEO
By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia

Budget carrier Jetstar Asia says its CEO Ken Ryan is stepping down after just 8 months at the helm to return to Australia.

Acting CEO, Neil Thompson, will take over immediately.

A new permanent chief is expected to be appointed in the new year.

The announcement will bring to four the number of chief executives - interim or otherwise - the fledgling budget carrier have in just about a year of operations.

During his tenure, Ken Ryan has presided over some difficult times like the July merger with Valuair and the resulting rationalisation exercise that saw a number of staff leaving.

In a recent interview with Channel NewsAsia, Mr Ryan complained about closed skies in the region in the carrier's bid to expand amidst claims of uncompetitive behaviour from other airlines.

In an official statement, Qantas Chairman Geoff Dixon said: "Ken's family has unfortunately been unable to join him in Singapore, which is why he has reluctantly decided to return to Australia."

Mr Ryan will take on a new senior management position with Qantas in Sydney.

The carrier says acting chief, Neil Thompson, has extensive knowledge of the Asian market as well as 18 years aviation experience at Qantas.

He is currently General Manager of Customer Relationship Marketing at Qantas.

Jetstar Asia is a Singapore-based budget carrier, with a significant Qantas shareholding. - CNA/ch

Copyright © 2005 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old December 3rd, 2005, 05:43 AM   #1156
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Will Ryanair yield in its surge for growth?
1 December 2005
Irish Independent

LATER today Ryanair will announce new routes out of Shannon. The low-cost airline is already being credited with much of the 36pc increase in the number of passengers passing through the regional airport in the first nine months of this year.

Last week Shannon, which is still establishing itself as a body independent of the Dublin Airport Authority, announced that it had clocked up 3m passengers this year, its target for 2005.

Tomorrow Ryanair will announce four new routes, although in some cases this will be achieved by restructuring its existing Shannon schedule.

Shannon could be a lesson for other airports on how to handle Ryanair. Michael O'Leary recently conceded that the company was achieving passenger growth at Shannon at the expense of yields.

In other words, Ryanair will drop the cost of Shannon flights to whatever is necessary to meet volume targets set with Shannon Airport.

The question is when will Ryanair embark on a similar strategy at Dublin Airport. Mr O'Leary likes to play down the significance of Dublin to the group's overall network. Goeff van Klavern, an aviation analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, the largest producer of market research in France, disagrees.

He said: "The biggest advantage which Ryanair has over its rivals is costs at the airport it flies into." According to Mr Van Klavern, the costs at Ryanair's "two key bases, Dublin and Shannon" are high relative to the other airports it uses.

Ryanair has slowed any significant expansion out of Dublin in protest the level of passenger charges and as a negotiation ploy.

Its position may change after new Aer Lingus chief Dermot Mannion yesterday said he intends to double the semi-state short-haul business. That might force Ryanair to press the nuclear button, lifting its self-imposed restrictions on expansion out of Dublin as it takes on Aer Lingus.

Mr O'Leary has already said that he intends to chase British Airways (BA) out of the short-haul market in a bid to double passenger numbers to 70m by 2012.

BA, now run by the former Aer Lingus chief executive Willie Walsh, has already pulled off routes to Zurich, Stuttgart, Rome, Pisa, Venice, Nice, Shannon and Cork at a time when Ryanair is using larger planes to increase the service it offers.

It is difficult to see how Aer Lingus can succeed where BA has failed. At €7.15 the shares are a comfortable hold.
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Old December 5th, 2005, 05:15 AM   #1157
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Ryanair Drops Stockholm, Hamburg Flights, Adds 3 Others
4 December 2005

DUBLIN (AP)--Irish budget airline Ryanair (RYA.DB) said Sunday it will drop uneconomic services from Shannon to Hamburg, Germany, and Stockholm, Sweden, starting Feb. 25.

The same day, it will launch services from Shannon on Ireland's west coast to Manchester, England; Rome; Wroclaw in Poland; and the Spanish city of Murcia, the airline said.

"Ryanair launched its Shannon base in May and monthly Ryanair traffic at the airport has trebled," said chief executive Michael O'Leary.

"The four new routes will mean that over the next year 1.5 million passengers will use Ryanair's Shannon flights, almost 1 million of whom will be inbound visitors, sustaining 1,500 jobs in this area of Ireland."

Ryanair is Europe's biggest low-fare airline, flying 35 million passengers annually on 267 routes in 21 European countries. The airline, founded in 1985, has more than 100 Boeing 737-800s and orders for another 125 planes for delivery through 2012.
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Old December 5th, 2005, 06:09 PM   #1158
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Ryanair Holdings Carried 2.7M Passengers In Nov
5 December 2005
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Ryanair Holdings said Monday that it carried 2,748,889 passengers in November 2005, up 25% on the 2,197,373 carried in November 2004.

In the rolling 12 months ended Nov. 30 the budget airline carried 32,731,836 passengers.

Load factor, the number of passengers as a proportion of the number of seats, was 81% in November against 82% last year. The figure was 84% in the rolling 12 months ended Nov. 30.

Internet sales represented 98% of seat sales compared to 97% in November 2004. In the rolling 12 months ended 30th November 2005 internet sales totalled 98%.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 05:49 PM   #1159
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Dec 7, 2005
Tiger Airways looking for second Asian base
Launch of joint venture planned for next year, but location not decided yet

By Karamjit Kaur
Transport Correspondent

KUALA LUMPUR - TIGER Airways is in talks with several potential partners and plans to launch its first joint-venture airline in Asia next year.

However, the Singapore-based carrier has yet to decide where to set up its second base. Mr Tony Davis, chief executive officer of the budget carrier backed by Singapore Airlines (SIA), told The Straits Times in Kuala Lumpur yesterday a location has not been picked for the secondary base.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific and Middle East Aviation Outlook Summit 2006, he said: 'Our plan has always been to be a pan-regional carrier. There are several options we are looking at for a secondary base.'

The goal is to start two or three such ventures in different Asian countries in the next few years, he said, adding that such partnerships are key if Tiger is to expand in a region where traffic rights are limited and carriers cannot fly where they want.

Indonesia, for example, recently banned foreign budget airlines from flying to key cities, in a bid to protect its own fledgling air transport industry.

Budget carriers are also not allowed to serve the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur market.

Tiger's strategy is similar to that of Malaysia's AirAsia, which has joint-venture airlines in Thailand and Indonesia.

Thai AirAsia, for example, flies between Bangkok and Singapore.

Tiger, which started operations in September last year, is a partnership between SIA, investment company Temasek Holdings, the founders of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair and United States-based marketing and business strategy consultants Indigo Partners.

Mr Davis was appointed president and chief executive officer of Tiger in November last year.

The airline has four planes and will get another eight in the next 18 months.

Tiger flies to more than 10 destinations, including Bangkok, Phuket, Hanoi, Macau and Darwin in Australia.

There are also plans to expand to India and China.

Mr Davis told the conference that, to remain viable, budget airlines must be religious about cutting costs.

Efficient use of resources is also key, he said, adding that Tiger has one of the highest aircraft utilisation rates in the business. Each of its four planes is in the air for about 14 hours a day.

Tiger has more flights a week than either Jetstar Asia or Valuair, he added.

They also have four planes each.

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Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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08 December 2005

Qantas launches international budget airline


SYDNEY : Australian flag carrier Qantas confirmed the launch on Thursday of a long-haul budget offshoot under its Jetstar banner, but it postponed until next week a much-awaited decision on the order of up to US$15 billion worth of new aircraft.

Chief Executive Geoff Dixon said Jetstar would commence its long-haul international operations by January 2007 and would require 10 aircraft for its initial, non-stop routes between Australia and Asia-Pacific destinations.

"Subsequent expansion will see Jetstar undertake two-stage flying to European and other destinations," he said, adding that the emphasis for the budget carrier would be "leisure routes".

"We believe Jetstar will deliver the lowest cost air operations of any international carrier operating to Australia, similar to our experience with Jetstar's Australian operations," he said.

Dixon said Qantas expected the Jetstar Group would be operating a fleet of 60 narrow and wide-body aircraft on domestic and international routes within five years.

Qantas launched the Melbourne-based Jestar as a budget domestic airline in early 2004 to counter the success of Virgin Blue, part-owned by Richard Branson's Virgin group.

Jetstar began flying to New Zealand destinations last month.

The decision to expand Jetstar further into a long-haul budget carrier was taken at a meeting of the Qantas board on Wednesday.

Dixon said the board had put off a decision on a major order of new aircraft until next Wednesday, when as special meeting will be held.

"This meeting is expected to discuss and approve major aircraft purchases, including the new aircraft for Jetstar's international operations," he said.

Industry sources have expected Qantas to order a combination of Boeing and Airbus aircraft for up to US$15 billion.

Late revisions by both Boeing and Airbus on Wednesday forced the Qantas board to postpone its final decision, The Australian newspaper reported on Thursday.

The battle by the plane manufacturers to secure Qantas business has been described as the closest fought in the airline's history.

Qantas is set to choose between Boeing's ultra-long-range 777-200LR and Airbus' A340-500, and between Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and Airbus' fuel efficient A350.

The airline's final order will add to the US$13.5 billion Qantas has already committed to modernisation of its aircraft fleet.

In Thursday's announcement, Dixon stressed that Jestar's expanded operations would "not be in any way at the expense of the Qantas full service domestic and international operations".

"The Qantas mainline operations are and will remain our primary focus," he said.

Expansion into new markets could involve either Qantas or Jetstar, depending on which had "the most suitable product" for a given route, he said.

Dixon said Jetstar's growth would create hundreds of new jobs in Australia over the next three years.

Its initial route network will focus on destinations within six to 10 hours of Australia, including serving some destinations already handled by Qantas mainline, but from different airports.

In addition to complementing Qantas' mainline operations, Jetstar would work closely with its Singapore-based offshoot, Jetstar Asia, in the intra-Asia market, he said. - AFP/de

Copyright © 2005 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.
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