Low-cost But Not So Long-haul
In late September Jetstar’s long-haul international operations completed transition to an all-Boeing 787-8 fleet. But for the Australian low cost operator and its Asian counterparts long-haul still doesn’t mean ultra-long-haul, even with the dramatically improved economics and range of the Dreamliner. Launching to Europe and mainland North America still seems a risk too far for the budgeteers.
Way back in December 2005, when then Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon announced Jetstar would commence its international operations no later than January 2007, he declared the carrier’s initial route structure would require 10 Airbus A330s and involve point-to-point routes between Australia and Asian and Pacific cities. “Subsequent expansion will see Jetstar undertake two-stage flying to European and other destinations,” he added.
Six years later, in January 2011, then Jetstar chief Bruce Buchanan, speaking at an aviation conference in Singapore, maintained the theme, saying the airline aimed to add Europe and the US to its international network once it took delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. “Europe has always been in our plan as well as North America,” he added. While he didn’t offer any specifics on destinations, sources suggested Athens, Milan and Rome were on the shortlist, with the flights transiting via Singapore. These southern European cities were seen as attractive because of their links with Australia’s large migrant population.
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