Qantas Airways has named its domestic discount unit Jetstar and unveiled plans for the new carrier to start flying in May. Jetstar will be based in Melbourne and focus on leisure routes. It will begin selling seats in February.

Jetstar will take over the 14 Boeing 717s that Qantas inherited when it acquired Impulse Airlines, and Impulse will be used as the operational entity for the low-cost carrier. At the launch, Qantas announced an order for 23 Airbus A320s for Jetstar, which will eventually phase out the 717s as the A320s arrive over the next three years, starting in June. Jetstar's A320s will be configured with 177 seats.

Geoff Dixon, Qantas chief executive, claims Jetstar's costs will be below Virgin Blue's - which Virgin Blue ridicules. Jetstar will not offer seat assignments or connecting baggage. It will sell in-flight food and rely heavily on internet bookings.

In parallel with unveiling Jetstar, Dixon said Qantas will reorganise its domestic airline into a two-class operation on all services using only 737s and 767s. Five more 737-800s will be bought to replace the airline's last 737-300s.

Source: Airline Business