The Qantas Group will increase the fleet of wholly-owned subsidiary Jetstar Airways in order to capture the leisure traffic Virgin Blue is relinquishing in favour of increased higher-yielding business traffic.

"We see great opportunities for Jetstar, particularly in the domestic market as our competition changes their focus," says Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce. "It is an opportunity Jetstar is seizing."

The Jetstar Group will lease 10 additional Airbus A320 aircraft and will extend the leases on 11 A320s, Qantas says. Jetstar will also lease an additional A330-200. The carrier did not disclose which of Jetstar's operations -Australia, Singapore, or Vietnam -the aircraft will go to.

Fifteen A320s are due for delivery to Jetstar in the 2012 financial year, which begins 1 July 2011. No aircraft are due to be delivered for the remainder of this financial year. Jetstar currently operates

58 A320s, according to Flightglobal's ACAS database.

"More A320s, as well as another wide-body A330-200, will ensure Jetstar maintains its place as the country's largest low fare airline and, along with Jetstar Asia, is best positioned to continue to drive the Group's Pan-Asian strategy," Joyce says.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news