Jetstar is showing continued signs of becoming 'Qantas Lite' and overtaking its parent as a primary international carrier as the low-cost airline expands its 'Jetstar Asia' Singapore hub and boosts flights to key Asian cities – many of which have high appeal to business travellers.
For example, weekly services between Singapore and Taipei will more than double, from 6 to 13, as of August 5.
On August 18, Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City will see a dramatic increase in flights, catapulting from one per week to 20 flights weekly for KL and tripling from 7 to 21 for HCMC.
As of August 19, Singapore-Hong Kong flights more than triple from 7 to 24 each week, while September will see increases for Jakarta (from 1 to 19) and Bali (going up to six flights per week from the current 4).
The added services will be made possible by Jetstar Asia taking on five additional Airbus A320s and two Airbus A330s.
Jetstar Group Chief Executive Bruce Buchanan observed that the airline's Pan Asian strategy is supported by growth of a new middle class in the "booming economies" of Asia.
Earlier this week Jetstar announced a daily Melbourne-Beijing service, which like all of the above flights will also be offered through Qantas as a codeshare booking, although an 11 hour layover in Singapore will cruel the deal for most business travellers.
But this could be the shape of flights to come, at least as far as Qantas is concerned – fewer direct services and less reliance on 'true' business class.
The flurry of Jetstar Asia activity comes just five weeks before Qantas CEO Alan Joyce reveals an overhaul – or as he puts it, a "strategic renewal" – of Qantas' international services, which is expected to cut back the Red Roo's own overseas services to just a handful of the most profitable routes while splitting the rest between Jetstar and a new 'joint venture' alliance with at least one Asian-based airline, which the wags have already dubbed 'Qantasia'.