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Wednesday January 24, 2007

Australia’s Jetstar to start Sydney-KL flights

SYDNEY: Jetstar, a low-cost carrier owned by Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd, will start flights between Sydney and Kuala Lumpur, as part of a plan to expand its Asian services. 

“Out of Australia there are a couple more routes to go yet, there are a couple more planes to put into that business,'' Qantas chief financial officer Peter Gregg told Bloomberg Television yesterday. 

Gregg, who spoke before Jetstar chief executive officer Alan Joyce was due to provide more details on new flights, said the low-cost airline wanted to increase services to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and was also considering adding flights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. 

Jetstar, which is as much as 50% cheaper to run than Qantas, was created to recover domestic market share lost to Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd. Qantas is Australia's largest airline. 

Gregg said Jetstar would not follow Qantas in cutting fuel surcharges until the price of jet fuel for the group fell by several hundred million dollars. 

Separately, Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd said in a statement in Kuala Lumpur that Jetstar would start operating its Sydney-Kuala Lumpur route from Sept 9. 

It said the carrier would operate three times a week, using wide-bodied Airbus A330-200s. 

Jetstar would be the second foreign low-cost carrier to fly into KL International Airport (KLIA), after Cebu Pacific Airways made its debut in December last year, the airport operator said. 

“This will be the first Australian airline operating in KLIA. This operation will not only help to enhance network and connectivity, but also complement the Government's efforts to further encourage more low-cost carriers to operate to KLIA,” managing director Datuk Seri Bashir Ahmad said in the statement. – Agencies  

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