Australia’s low fares airline Jetstar has announced its intention to reinstate direct international services between Cairns and western Japan on the Cairns-Osaka* route in December 2009 when it finalises commercial airport arrangements in Japan to enable this new growth in services to occur.
In delivering a major boost for the Far North Queensland tourism industry, Jetstar plans to introduce four times weekly A330 services directly between Cairns-Osaka* (Kansai International Airport) to further grow its Queensland to Japan services to 25* weekly return frequencies by the end of 2009. (*Flights subject to regulatory approval).
The decision further consolidates Jetstar’s continued leadership position on the Australia-Japan route as the largest airline serving this important tourism export market for both the Queensland and Australian tourism industry.
Jetstar Chief Executive Officer Bruce Buchanan joined the Queensland Premier Hon. Anna Bligh MP and Queensland Airports Limited General Manager Business Marketing & Development Paul Donovan to jointly announce the airline’s latest high level commitment in support of Queensland’s tourism sector.
Mr Buchanan said Jetstar welcomed the ongoing partnership with the Queensland Government and Queensland Airports Limited, which underpinned the intended reintroduction of direct air access between Cairns and western Japan.
“Through Jetstar’s strong partnership with Queensland Airports Limited, where their management now extends to Cairns Airport, we are leveraging increased opportunities to continue to grow international connections for Far North Queensland,” Mr Buchanan said.
“These partnerships are allowing Jetstar to deliver more international flights for Cairns.”
Mr Buchanan said the future Cairns-Osaka* service was dependent upon a satisfactory commercial arrangement being achieved with Kansai International Airport.
“We have a positive relationship with Kansai International Airport, and are continuing our negotiations in relation to this proposed new service. We look forward to concluding this with a positive outcome,” Mr Buchanan said.
“However, with our commercial agreement with Queensland Airports Limited, we have alternative international capacity options for Cairns, if we are unable to secure an appropriate arrangement.”
Jetstar currently sells 21 weekly two class international services on the Australia-Japan route between Cairns-Tokyo (daily), Gold Coast-Tokyo (existing 5 times weekly moving to daily from 29 March 2009) and Gold Coast-Osaka (daily) with its A330-200 fleet.
These flights are supported by an existing three times weekly Cairns-Gold Coast A320 service that allows one-stop same day access between Osaka and Far North Queensland for Japanese travellers via Jetstar’s Gold Coast flying hub.
Mr Buchanan said upon the future commencement of sales of its proposed four times weekly Cairns-Osaka* service, Jetstar will deliver daily flight access for arriving and departing Japanese visitors from western Japan into Cairns, to better support its existing daily Cairns-Tokyo return service and provide fresh impetus for the region’s tourism industry.
“Jetstar, as the fastest growing international airline serving Australia, is committed to working with all tiers of Government and key tourism industry partners to keep our nation affordable and be an accessible destination of choice for international visitors,” Mr Buchanan said.
“Jetstar’s operating low fares model for the Australia-Japan air route, one of the nation’s most vital international air markets, is working where previous attempts to sustain this market are not.
“The rapid acceptance of Jetstar and our value for money brand identity in Japan over the past two years is demonstrated through our appeal to new markets and strong segment growth amongst young Japanese professionals as well as a new model for wholesaler cooperative activity.
“Our Japan-Australia services are experiencing upwards of one in five first time international travellers and up to 40 per cent of bookings now come direct through Jetstar.com or telephone bookings to our airline in the Tokyo market.
“Such factors and Jetstar’s marketing investment of up to $30 million annually in Japan reflect a heightened ability by us to better convert Japanese consumers and their existing awareness and preference to visit Australia into actual holiday bookings.”
Mr Buchanan said Jetstar remained a strong advocate for a more collaborative and coordinated approach, including pooled funding amongst Government, industry stakeholders and the airline to more effectively market Australia to the Japanese consumer audience and convert sales.
“A ‘Team Australia’ pooled funding approach allows us and our partners to share one voice to co-ordinate and maximise our marketing activity in Japan, to build an even stronger proposition to entice Japanese holidaymakers to our shores,” Mr Buchanan said.
To mark two years of Jetstar operations on the Australia-Japan route, the airline is currently offering special sale fares for travel ex Japan to Australia from an unprecedented 7000 yen return# for future travel between mid April and mid July 2009.
Jetstar last week announced the extension of its existing Cairns pilot and crew base to include A330 international pilots to support growing operations from the city.
Mr Buchanan said the proposed new Jetstar international service between Cairns and Osaka would leverage Jetstar’s existing market presence in Osaka via daily Gold Coast-Osaka operations.
Jetstar ceased flights between Osaka and Cairns last December. The intended reinstatement of direct Cairns-Osaka* services by Jetstar follows its initial entry on the route in September 2007.
* Subject to regulatory approval
# Excluding surcharges, fees and taxes
The Jetstar Group is one of Asia Pacific’s fastest growing airline brands with one of the most extensive ranges of destinations in the region. It is made up of Jetstar Airways (subsidiary of the Qantas Group) in Australia and New Zealand, Jetstar Asia in Singapore, Jetstar Pacific in Vietnam, and Jetstar Japan in Japan. Jetstar branded carriers operate up to 4,200 flights a week to more than 75 destinations. The Jetstar Group carried more than 34 million passengers in financial year 2016.