Jetstar Asia plans to launch a thrice-weekly service from its Singapore hub to Shantou in China on 2 February, making it the first airline to begin international flights out of the southern Chinese city.

The low-cost carrier will operate an Airbus A320 on the route and plans to increase the service in the future. This is its second service to mainland China after starting flights to Haikou on Hainan island.

"Shantou is an exciting and strategic addition to our expanding network, which will now grow to 20 international markets directly connected to Singapore," says Chong Phit Lian, CEO of Jetstar Asia, who adds that China "remains a major focus for future growth".

"Jetstar plans to increase our existing capacity from our Singapore hub by 46% through the arrival of three additional A320 aircraft, and these are directly supporting such expansion into new markets including to mainland China."

Shantou, which is in Guangdong province and has a population of five million residents, is one of five special economic zones in China.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news