Jetstar Group CEO Bruce Buchanan said there was “no chance” he would take a back seat in LCC expansion in Asia, with competitors such as AirAsia aggressively expanding across the region (The Australian Financial Review, 25-Aug-2011). “We predict the market [in Asia] will grow rapidly and Jetstar will maintain its leadership position, Mr Buchanan said. This “gives us a competitive advantage” he said, adding the LCC would not grow for growth’s sake but is responding to rising demand for low-cost travel. Mr Buchanan said he is looking for Jetstar’s next Asian affiliate, with the CEO citing the Philippines, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong as potential bases.
Jetstar to press ahead with Asian expansion
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AirAsia exploring future opportunities in Northeast Asia: Chinese affiliate enticing, but difficult
AirAsia is doubling down its focus on North Asia with a regional office in Hong Kong overseen by former AirAsia executive Kathleen Tan, who is widely credited for AirAsia's strong Chinese relations and growth in China: AirAsia is the largest non-greater China airline company in the country. Across North Asia the opportunities are large, but the challenges equally big. A China-based AirAsia affiliate would appear to be a long term ambition.
More immediately, AirAsia is regaining a local Northeast Asia presence with the launch of AirAsia Japan Mk II in 2017. Although delayed from initial 2015 start-up projections, AirAsia Japan gives the group relevance in a large domestic market and significantly growing short haul international market.
Elsewhere in Northeast Asia the opportunities are mixed. Korea and Hong Kong are becoming saturated and remain protectionist. Macau and Taiwan are unlikely to be big enough to support a local AirAsia unit.
Cebu Pacific Air reconsiders Melbourne under Tigerair Australia partnership as Sydney route improves
Cebu Pacific Air is again looking at expanding in the Australia market by launching flights to Melbourne. Efforts in recent months to improve Cebu Pacific’s performance in Sydney, which was launched in 2014, are bearing fruit and the airline is confident with Melbourne it can stimulate further demand in the Philippines-Australia market.
The LCC initially added Melbourne to its network plan in 2015 after the Philippines and Australia forged an extended air services agreement. But Cebu Pacific subsequently decided to shelve plans to launch Melbourne, and has instead been using additional A330 capacity to expand in its domestic and regional international market.
Melbourne is now back on the agenda and is the next priority – leapfrogging Honolulu – for Cebu Pacific’s long haul operation. A new partnership with Melbourne-based Tigerair Australia is a key driver in making Manila-Melbourne a viable route, along with the anticipated rapid growth in Australian visitor numbers to the Philippines.