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Qantas to outsource Tokyo, Osaka flights to "Jetstar Japan"?

By John Walton     Filed under: qantas, tokyo, JAL, Jetstar, Japan, Osaka, alan joyce, Jetstar Asia, Japan Airlines, Tokyo Narita, Bruce Buchanan, Jetstar Japan, Japan Air Lines, Nagoya, Qantasia

Jetstar and Qantas' oneworld alliance partner Japan Air Lines (JAL) are setting up a new Japan-based low-cost airline, to be based at either Tokyo Narita, Osaka Kansai or Nagoya Centrair international airports, Japanese media is reporting.

With Japan Air Lines' status as a launch customer for the Boeing 787, Qantas could well be considering using JAL's Tokyo hub as a base for Jetstar's own 787s, which are currently planned to arrive next year

Qantas' experience with Jetstar will give it a 30% stake -- equal to JAL's holding in the new venture -- and potential management control of the new airline, according to Reuters translations of reports in the Japanese Nikkei financial newspaper.

With Qantas CEO Alan Joyce painting a dark picture for the future of Qantas-branded international service (including proper business class) last week, this strikes us as reminiscent of offshored subsidiary airlines Jetstar Asia (Singapore), Jetstar New Zealand and Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam).

Is this the latest step in what airline industry insiders are starting to call "Qantasia"?

Jetstar already flies from Cairns and Coolangatta/Gold Coast to Tokyo Narita and Osaka Kansai international airports, using Airbus A330 aircraft with a premium economy ("Star Class") and high-density economy configuration.

Qantas has kept only a single Japan route, flying from Sydney to Tokyo Narita using Boeing 747s. 
Tokyo's Narita International Airport, some 60 km east of central Tokyo, could even potentially be a new Kangaroo Route hub for Jetstar. 

London is only 250 kilometres further to fly via Tokyo than via Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, which had previously been mooted as a "Qantasia" hub following Malaysia Airlines' annoucement that Qantas will sponsor it into the oneworld global airline alliance.

Of course, it's entirely possible that Alan Joyce -- himself a former Jetstar CEO -- and current Jetstar chief Bruce Buchanan are looking to create multiple Jetstar offshore hubs. 

Most passengers, even in business class, won't mind whether they fly via Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Tokyo (or even Shanghai, which has also been suggested as a Kangaroo Route airport), if the price is right.

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About John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

 

Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 1/7/11 by aklrunway

Hi John,

Jetstar market it as Business Class not "premium economy" and it is no longer called "Star Class". These changes came into affect with the new fare structures. This is similar to Air Asia X "Premium Class"

2 on 1/7/11 by KG

Regardless of how JQ calls its offering up front, it is still inferior to non-lowcost airline offerings in their premium cabins. I also think that the value of Star / Business class has significantly downgraded with the new fare structure, as the cheapest fares do not offer staus credits nor mileage on QFF. If you by the max bundle to get the status credits / mileage the price jumps up so high that you're better of taking a normal carrier like China Southern or Hainan (price is similar, service way better, ofcourse no Oneworld benefits)

1 on 1/7/11 by aklrunway

I was merely pointing out that it isn't called "Star Class" anymore. I wasn't referring to any of the service offerings etc.

1 on 1/7/11 by KG

Don't worry, it was not a response to your message, don't feel offended, my apologies if you are. I just meant it as a general remark and wanted to add to the discussion and story above in which it is being speculated that JQ will take over QF routes (which worries me as they will likely offer less comfort up front).

3 on 1/7/11 by am

Jetstar's flights to Japan will definitely be moved to this subsidiary - I imagine it will lower their costs substantially employing Japanese labour instead of Australian labour. 

This might also be a good place to send the A330s that the Qantas Group will have once the 787s really start piling in. I know that they want to move them to domestic etc but if all the doom and gloom plays out then QF won't need them and JQ Japan will probs be looking for second hand A330s for growth in 5-8 years time if JQ here is anything to go by.

And SYD-NRT will never stop being QF - they basically have a monopoly on this route and the business demand is high (and will bounce back after this years downfall). What I could see is this new airline taking JLs daily flight though, which always seems to be full of tourists while the majority of business people use QF... Interesting times ahead :)

 

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