Saturday, February 28, 2015

Jetstar Japan goes international with Kansai – Hong Kong.

On February 28th, Jetstar Japan [GK/JJP] launched their long-awaited first international service linking Osaka/Kansai [KIX/RJBB] and Hong Kong [HKG/VHHH] (Jetstar Japan loads first international to Hong Kong.). The new route will be served three times weekly using 180-seat Airbus A320s. Operated by A320-232(SL) JA19JJ, inaugural flight GK061 departed Kansai at 0956 JST with a load of 179 passengers and landed at Hong Kong at 1308 HKT. 170 passengers boarded the return leg.

Airbus A320-232(SL) JA19JJ departs Hong Kong for her return leg to Kansai on the inaugural day. Jetstar Japan is the first Japanese LCC to reach 20 aircraft. The fleet will be kept at 20 for the foreseeable future, and expansion will come from increasing utilization. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

Until March 28th, the round-trip will be operated on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, except for March 3rd. From the Summer 2015 timetable effective March 29th, it will switch to Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. One-way fares start from 5,990 JPY for the basic Starter fare, which includes a seven-kilogram carry-on baggage allowance. The price does not include fuel surcharges, taxes, and a processing fee.

Flight Schedule:
Kansai – Hong Kong NEW 3 weekly with A320-200. (Feb/28 - July/17)
GK061 KIX 0955 – 1310 HKG 32A/320 Sa *Feb/28 only.
GK061 KIX 0840 – 1155 HKG 32A/320 Tu *Mar/3 only.
GK061 KIX 0835 – 1150 HKG 32A/320 Fr/Su *Mar/6 - 28.
GK061 KIX 0955 – 1310 HKG 32A/320 Sa *Mar/6 - 28.
GK063 KIX 1720 – 2015 HKG 32A/320 We/Fr/Su *Mar/29 - Jul/17.
GK062 HKG 1410 – 1825 KIX 32A/320 Sa *Feb/28 only.
GK062 HKG 1300 – 1715 KIX 32A/320 Tu *Mar/3 only.
GK062 HKG 1245 – 1700 KIX 32A/320 Fr/Su *Mar/6 - 28.
GK062 HKG 1410 – 1825 KIX 32A/320 Sa *Mar/6 - 28.
GK064 HKG 2125 – 0205(+1) KIX 32A/320 We/Fr/Su *Mar/29 - Jul/17.

"We feel a connection with Kansai. It was the first airport in Japan our Jetstar Group started serving, when Jetstar Airways [JQ/JST] launched flights in 2007," said CEO Miyuki Suzuki. Asked about the modest frequency, "Stabilizing our operations at Kansai is our priority; then we will consider adding more flights," Mrs. Suzuki answered. Regarding pilot shortage, which caused massive travel disruptions at competitors Peach Aviation [MM/APJ] (Peach outlines Summer 2014 mass cancellations.) and Vanilla Air [JW/VNL] (Vanilla Air cancels 154 flights in June due to pilot shortage.) last summer, Mrs. Suzuki confirmed "We have enough recruits."

The Kansai – Hong Kong route sees LCC competition with homegrown Peach Aviation [MM/APJ] and Hong Kong Express Airways [UO/HKE] (d.b.a. HK Express) both flying twice daily. Jetstar Japan will also need to fight with some full-service carriers; Air India [AI/AIC] flies three times weekly, All Nippon Airways [NH/ANA] once daily, and Cathay Pacific Airways [CX/CPA] five to six daily. 33.3%-owner Japan Airlines [JL/JAL] does not operate the route. However, if sister carrier Jetstar Hong Kong [JM/JKT] can secure an operating permit from the local authorities, synergies, including connections, could help both.

The Narita-based LCC, which took delivery of its 20th A320 in December, finally launched their second hub at Kansai last June (Jetstar Japan launches Kansai hub.), after repeated delays caused by shortage of maintenance crews (Jetstar Japan delays Kansai hub, cancels 101 flights.). Besides the new Hong Kong service, it currently operates 18 domestic routes covering 11 cities, with Nagoya/Chubu Centrair [NGO/RJGG] – Okinawa/Naha [OKA/ROAH] to be added next month (Jetstar Japan to start Nagoya – Okinawa.). Asked about new routes, Mrs. Suzuki replied "We hope to launch a couple of new destinations from Narita and Kansai by the end of this year," without mentioning any candidate cities.

Source: Aviation Wire, February 28th. (in Japanese)

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