News

Jetstar adjusts services to Japan and New Zealand

24 Mar 2014 by Clement Huang

Jetstar Asia will start serving daily flights to the Fukuoka from June 26. The low-cost carrier (LCC) will deploy services from its base in Singapore to the Japanese city via a short layover in Bangkok.

Fukuoka is the sixth largest city in Japan, and is often praised for its dynamic culture and food, including the famous Hakata ramen. A popular tourist destination, it will become the third international Japanese port for Jetstar after Tokyo (Narita) and Osaka.

More significantly, the new destination means that there will soon be a new entry point for customers wishing to access Jetstar Japan’s domestic network. Since launching in 2012, the domestic airline has become the largest LCC in Japan, as it benefits from a joint ownership by Qantas (which owns the Jetstar brand) and Japan Airlines, who each maintains a majority 33.3 per cent stake.

According to Japan’s Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Tourism, LCCs have played a significant role in the growing passenger traffic seen in the country. The government body attributed the 8.7 per cent year-on-year increase in domestic air travel in November 2013 to the introduction of LCCs.

Currently, Jetstar customers wishing to travel from Singapore to Fukuoka would have to undergo a 12 hour or longer journey by flying to Taipei and then Osaka, before transferring onto a Jetstar Japan flight to Fukuoka. Alternatively, they could opt to fly to Manila instead of Taipei before connecting to Osaka for their final leg of the journey. 

The new daily service will be operated by Jetstar Asia’s Airbus A320, and feature 180 seats in a single-class layout. The total travelling duration will be about nine hours. Fares are now on sale.

FLIGHT SCHEDULE FOR SINGAPORE-BANGKOK-FUKUOKA FLIGHT

ROUTE

DAYS OF OPERATION

TIMINGS

Singapore to Bangkok

Daily

2250-0020

Bangkok to Fukuoka

Daily

0215-0930

Fukuoka to Bangkok

Mon, Tue, Sat, Sun

1030-1415

Bangkok to Singapore

Mon, Tue, Sat, Sun

1515-1840

Fukuoka to Bangkok

Wed, Thu, Fri

1030-1410

Bangkok to Singapore

Wed, Thu, Fri

1510-1840

In other news, Jetstar Airways has also announced that it will be stopping its services from Singapore to Auckland after flying the route for three years.

The announcement followed earlier reports that Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Air New Zealand (ANZ) will be forming a codeshare alliance later this year on services between Singapore and Auckland .

“Today’s announcement confirms the concerns we expressed to New Zealand’s Minister of Transport that the proposed alliance between Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand could have detrimental impacts on the growth and promotion of competition in international air services,” said Glenn Wedlock, Auckland Airport’s general manager aeronautical commercial.  

Currently, SIA is the only other operator to offer direct flights between Singapore and Auckland. That makes Jetstar Airways the only low-cost choice for direct flights between the two cities. The possible ramifications of the SIA and ANZ partnership could have resulted in Jetstar Airway’s decision to suspend this service. The codeshare deal will see ANZ returning to the route again, which the carrier last operated in 2006.

Reciprocally, SIA will be able to operate the Airbus A380 to New Zealand for the first time. The superjumbo is expected to first be deployed seasonally, but may eventually replace the Boeing 777-300ER that is currently flown.

By operating the A380 on this route, SIA might be able increase its yield by offering more premium seats while lowering economy ticket prices as the per-seat fuel cost can be reduced with a good passenger load.  

But even without this SIA/ANZ partnership, Jetstar Airways is facing enough competition on this route. The carrier’s service to Auckland varies but on average, it flies to the city five times weekly over four day. However, only three of them are direct flights. The other two require a layover in Melbourne, and there are plenty of other carriers that offer one-stopover options every day of the week.

For example, Etihad Airways offers services from Singapore to Auckland via a stopover in Brisbane for prices starting at S$1,361 (US$1,065) on economy. Upon reaching the Australian city, passengers have a choice of two different ANZ-operated flights to Auckland – one departing after one hour and 35 minutes and the other in seven hours. So there is the choice of a straight-forward connection, or a half day to explore Brisbane if one so wishes.

Jetstar Airway’s connecting fare starts at S$573 (US$448) on economy, and S$1,036 (US$811) on business (which is comparable to economy class on full-service carriers). The flight features a five-hour layover in Melbourne, making the total travel duration a a rather long 16 hours and 25 minutes. For just over US$200 more, passengers can enjoy a full service offering on Etihad, with a much shorter layover.

For more information, visit www.jetstar.com/sg

Clement Huang

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