Singapore's Jetstar moving into line maintenance and ground handling

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Qantas Airways' Singapore-based low-cost carrier Jetstar Asia has brought its Singapore line maintenance in-house and the company is pitching to get a ground handling licence at Singapore Changi Airport.

Jetstar Asia was previously using ST Aero for line maintenance in Singapore but has brought it in-house although ST Aero will continue to do some heavy maintenance checks for Jetstar Asia, says Jetstar CEO Bruce Buchanan.

He also says Jetstar is one of four companies pitching for the third ground handling licence at Changi Airport.

Changi Airport Group opened the tender late last year following the withdrawal of Swissport. The two other incumbent ground handlers are Singapore Airport Terminal Services and Changi International Airport Services.

Buchanan says Jetstar is pitching against AirAsia, SIA Engineering and a well-established US ground handler.

There is a clear need for the airport to have a ground handler that is focused on serving the needs of low-cost carriers, says Buchanan, adding that the needs of low-cost carriers can be quite different to that of full-service carriers.

He says he and AirAsia's CEO Tony Fernandes have come to a non-binding agreement that if Jetstar wins the tender, then AirAsia's flights into Singapore will use Jetstar's new ground handling firm.