Qantas (QF) has denied Australian media reports that its Asian strategy has been put on hold and confirmed that discussions were continuing with Malaysia Airlines (MH) and Singaporean interests.

In August, the Qantas Group announced it was setting up a joint venture with Japan Airlines and Mitsubishi to form Jetstar Japan, and it would also launch a premium branded airline in Asia to tap the rising middle class (ATW Daily News, Aug. 15).

On Monday, an airline spokesperson told ATW that the “a cornerstone of the airline’s policy of revitalizing its international operations is tapping into the forecast growth in the intra-Asia travel sector—not just at the low-cost end but premium traffic.”

While discussions are continuing with Singaporean interests, the recent tie-up between MH and AirAsia, which has a cooperation agreement with QF’s low-cost airline Jetstar, has significant appeal.

"With the recent changes at Malaysia Airlines combined with their joining of oneworld, as well as our long-standing relationship with Tony Fernandes [CEO of AirAsia], this now presents a genuine option for the Qantas Group to tap into Asia. At this stage, nothing is ruled in or out and all options are under serious consideration,” the QF spokesperson said.