Low-cost carriers continue to add capacity and destinations, with Southeast Asia remaining a key focus area for growth.

Australian low-cost carrier Jetstar will broaden its international network from Melbourne and Perth.

Jetstar A321neo LR 30

Source: Jetstar

Jetstar is to establish an A321LR base in Perth

April will see services on the Melbourne-Auckland route grow to 13 flights per week from eight, while Melbourne-Christchurch will be operated five times weekly, up from three times weekly. Jetstar uses Airbus A320s on its Trans-Tasman routes.

The carrier’s Trans-Tasman network is already 40% higher than in 2019, the last full year before the coronavirus pandemic. It expects its domestic New Zealand operation to reach pre-pandemic levels in the middle of 2024.

In addition, Jetstar will boost Boeing 787-8 services from Melbourne to the Southeast Asian destinations of Bangkok, Phuket, and Singapore from 1 April 2024.

From August 2024, it will operate the Perth-Singapore route six times weekly as well as “up to four weekly return flights” between Perth and Phuket. It will also launch a four-times-weekly Perth-Bangkok service.

The flights will be operated with Airbus A321LRs, which will operate from the carrier’s new Perth base.

Jetstar parent Qantas Group adds that it expects a busy holiday season. It says that Qantas and Jetstar will carry 8.5 million passengers - over 500,000 more than last year - during December and January on nearly 70,000 flights.

It will keep 13 aircraft on operational standby, including an A380, as well as reserve staff who can work if there is unexpected sick leave.

Vietjet passengers welcomed Shanghai

Source: Vietjet

Vietjet passengers are welcomed in Shanghai following the carrier’s inaugral Ho Chi Minh City-Shanghai service

Indian LCC IndiGo is also adding capacity to Thailand, increasing services between Mumbai and Phuket from 5 January 2024, and between Bengaluru and Phuket from 28 February 2024. This will take frequencies on the Bengaluru-Phuket to 13 times weekly, and on Bengaluru-Phuket to six times weekly.

Overall, this will take IndiGo’s Thailand network to 56 weekly flights serving five Thailand airports.

Vietnam LCC Vietjet continues to grow internationally. It recently launched services on the Hanoi-Jakarta, Phu Quoc-Busan, and Ho Chi Minh City-Shanghai routes.

The airline also announced a partnership with Lao Airlines as it launched services on the Ho Chi Minh City-Vientiane route.

Vietjet said this of the partnership: “Vietjet and Lao Airlines…have become comprehensive partners in passenger and cargo transportation. Both Airlines will also expand cooperation in technical fields, aircraft maintenance and repair, aviation workforce training, and more.”

China’s Hainan airlines has also launched a Vientiane service from Haikou on Hainan Island. The service will operate three times weekly with 737-800s.

China Eastern Airlines, meanwhile, launched a new Shanghai-Cairo service, the first route from Shanghai to North Africa. China Eastern will operate the service three times weekly with A350-900s.

Greater Bay 737

Source: Greater Bay Airlines

A Greater Bay Airlines 737-800. The carrier is adding to its international destinations

Both Chinese carriers cast the route launches in the context of ‘One Belt, One Road’, the international infrastructure programme of Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping.

Hong Kong’s Greater Bay Airlines is increasing frequencies to international destinations such as Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Osaka, Taipei, and Tokyo.

Korean LCC Jin Air has also launched a daily Busan-Taipei service.

Finally, Taiwan carrier Starlux has set up a base in the country’s third largest city, Taichung. It aims to launch international services from Taichung during 2024.