Jetstar starting Singapore flights to Auckland and Melbourne

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Jetstar Asia is launching services from Singapore to Auckland and Melbourne, the low-cost carrier's first long-haul routes out of Singapore.

The daily non-stop Singapore-Melbourne service starts on 16 December and the daily non-stop Singapore-Auckland service starts on 17 March, says Jetstar CEO Bruce Buchanan.

Both services will use Airbus A330-200s that are being delivered prior to the launch of the services.

Buchanan says they chose to start with Auckland and Melbourne because it means Jetstar Asia can link up with Jetstar's operations in Australia and New Zealand.

These are our three largest hubs, says Buchanan, adding that "we have a strong brand at each end and a network at each end."

He says Jetstar's new longer haul flights will feed Jetstar's domestic network in Australia and New Zealand. Having traffic from Australia and New Zealand into Singapore will also feed Jetstar's network of flights through Southeast Asia, he adds.

Buchanan says Jetstar group has more A330s due for delivery in Australia's next fiscal year, starting 1 July 2011. At the end of this year or early next year Jetstar Asia will decide on the next phase of its long-haul expansion, he says.

Long-haul destinations it is eyeing include: Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo in northeast Asia and Rome and Athens in Europe, he says.

Jetstar Asia will also be expanding its short-haul operations because the Jetstar group has 50 Airbus A320s due for delivery of the next four years, says Buchanan, without elaborating.

Jetstar will be competing on the Auckland route against Singapore Airlines.

On the Melbourne route it will be competing against Emirates and Singapore Airlines as well as sister carrier Qantas Airways.

Buchanan says Qantas has no plans to cut capacity, with Jetstar's entry into the route, which means Jetstar's flights represent incremental growth.