Jetstar Asia, the Qantas low-cost joint venture, has decelerated its fleet growth plans as it continues to struggle to secure traffic rights on key routes out of Singapore. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, Jetstar Asia asked ILFC to find another operator to take its fifth A320, which was due to enter service by May. It also is considering arrangements to lease out some of three additional A320s ordered from ILFC if its plans to expand to new destinations in Indonesia and China are frustrated.
Australia's largest international airport has joined the push to establish Singapore Airlines on the lucrative corridor to the US in direct competition with Qantas. Sydney Airport head Max Moore-Wilton said that "at the appropriate time" the airport will be "strongly supportive" of SIA's plans to take up services between Sydney and Los Angeles. "Undoubtedly we support Singapore Airlines; the trend in world aviation is opening up the markets," Moore-Wilton said.
Qantas confirmed that further extensive restructuring planned for the airline could result in redundancies among the 38,500-strong workforce and the relocation of operations within Australia and offshore.
Responding to media speculation about likely losses of up to 3,000 jobs, CEO Geoff Dixon said it is inevitable that existing efficiency programs and a review currently being undertaken will change the direction of the carrier. However, he said there is no definitive figure for the redundancies that may result from the process.
Virgin Blue's independent directors flatly rejected as "neither fair nor reasonable" a A$1.1 billion ($871.6 million) buyout bid by major shareholder Patrick Corp., intensifying pressure on the multimodal transport group to raise its offer price.
Australia could have a fourth domestic airline by the middle of the year, with upstart OzJet planning an assault on the premium market controlled by Qantas with a business-only operation.
Formula One team boss Paul Stoddart Tuesday announced the proposed A$70 million ($55.1 million) launch of OzJet, which will use a fleet of four 737-200s and six BAe 146s that are fully owned by his European aviation company. Stoddart said he originally intended OzJet to be a low-cost operation but this was frustrated by the launch of Qantas budget subsidiary Jetstar in May 2004.