Jetstar joins Oneworld alliance
Asia Pacific budget carrier Jetstar is aiming to grow its Asian business by at least 30 per cent this year and is looking to open routes to Europe and North America when it takes delivery of the long-delayed Boeing 787 Dreamliner in 2012.
The move would put the Melbourne-based Qantas affiliate, which has an Asian hub in Singapore, in competition with Malaysia's Air Asia X and potentially with some established long-haul full service carriers such as Singapore Airlines.
Jetstar group CEO Bruce Buchanan said that the company will also join Oneworld alliance, which will put it in the same team as Qantas, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Japan Airlines.
"We want to grow our business by at least 30 per cent in this region," Mr Buchanan said.
"We started the long haul network from Singapore in December to complement the short haul network that we've got. Europe has always been in our plan as well as North America.
"A lot of it will depend on fleet deliveries, we are planning to use the 787 for some of those routes and because of the delay in the 787, we are focusing more on the Asian growth opportunities."
Jetstar flies from Singapore to China and Australia and on other shorter routes. Mr Buchanan said the first deliveries of the 25 Dreamliners on order by Jetstar was likely to be in 2012.
Boeing has announced that the first delivery of the lightweight, carbon-composite Dreamliner is expected to be in the third quarter of this year, after a nearly three year delay.
Australian flag carrier Qantas controls 100 per cent of Jetstar's Australian operation and 49 per cent of the Singapore-based Asian business. Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings controls 19 per cent of the Asian operation.
The company operates 77 aircraft, mostly the narrow body Airbus A320s and wide body A330-300.
The global airlines industry is recovering from the sharp downturn in 2009 when it recorded a net lost of nearly US$10 billion, according to trade body IATA.
IATA predicted the industry would generate US$9.1b (NZ$11.8b) profit this year after an estimated US$15.1 billion profit in 2010.