Jetstar is set to operate 10 per cent more capacity in March 2021 than the same month in 2020, pre-COVID.
The increase will be facilitated by potentially flying larger A320s normally used for shorter-haul international destinations.
The airline’s chief executive, Gareth Evans, said, “People have been cooped up for a very, very long time and now that border restrictions have gone pretty much across the whole country people are looking forward to getting out there.
“We had aircraft flying on the Tasman and places like Bali. Both those international services won’t be coming back straight away so we can utilise those aircraft back in Australia
“We’re looking at bringing some aircraft from our Asian businesses where restrictions are still in place and demand hasn’t recovered quite as quickly.”
Sister airline Jetstar Asia, based in Singapore, operates 13 A320s, while Jetstar Japan operates 25 plus 49 aircraft in its local operation.
Significantly, the ramping up of capacity would come at the same time as Rex is set to launch capacity city flights from 1 March.
Evans’ comments follow similar statements from Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce, who believes he can maintain his business’ larger post-COVID market share of 70 per cent.
“We can see with Jetstar, certainly with Tiger removed from the market, that the low-cost market is moving towards Jetstar, too,” said Joyce. “So we also believe that there’s been a big strategic advantage for Qantas by having a bigger network of more frequencies.
“And that is very important from the research into our corporate customers. It is our intention to maintain those advantages and a result of all of that means we think our market share will be about 70 per cent. That is sustainable going forward.
“We’ve also added a whole series of new routes – you can see the 11 new routes that we mentioned – they’re filling up really well.
“That’s part of us maintaining the share of market advantage. Rex are talking about a staged approach into the market. We’re very confident in our position, Jetstar will still have a significantly lower cost base because it has scale advantages over Rex.”
The Virgin Australia Group first announced it was to axe the Tigerair brand in August – despite repeated reassurances post-administration that it would be retained.
The airline, along with Rex, is now set to adopt a mid-market, hybrid strategy.
“Australia already has a low-cost carrier and a traditional full-service airline, and we won’t be either,” said new Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlicka. “Virgin Australia will be a mid-market carrier appealing to customers who are after a great value airfare and better service.”
“The travel environment is changing and so are our customers’ preferences. We know that leisure travellers, small and medium businesses, and many corporates are now emerging from COVID-19 wanting better value.
“They are hungry for flexibility and choice, a trusted brand that resonates with their values, and great prices, along with the premium features they value most.”