Jetstar to extend Avalon services until April 2015

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Jetstar will continue operations from Victoria’s Avalon airport until April 2015 after the state put together a support package aimed at keeping the airport’s sole airline user.

In a statement, the low-cost carrier confirmed that it has reached an in-principle agreement with the Victorian government, and that a deal will be finalised in the coming days.

“Victoria is the home of Jetstar. Our head office is in Melbourne and we employ more than 1,500 people throughout the state. Avalon has been a part of the Jetstar story since our beginning,” says Jetstar group chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka.

“We are committed to working with key stakeholders throughout 2014 to find ways to improve the performance of our services and support tourism to the region.”

A statement from the Victorian government said that uncertainty about the future of Jetstar’s operations at Avalon prompted it to put together a “substantial support package".

The government says the deal will keep 68 Jetstar and 180 airport jobs.

Jetstar’s parent airline, Qantas, announced in November that it would close its heavy maintenance facility at Avalon in March 2014.

The budget carrier began flying from Avalon in 2004, using it as a secondary gateway to Melbourne. It has, however, been scaling back its presence there in recent years, and instead growing its operations at Melbourne’s main airport, Tullamarine.

Tigerair Australia started flights to Avalon in 2010, but has not yet returned there since a temporary grounding on the carrier was lifted in August 2011.