Singapore-based budget operation Jetstar Asia aims to follow up the start of flights to China this December by resuming flights to India next year and has ambitions to begin long-haul operations if it can secure some Airbus A330s from its 49% shareholder Qantas.

Jetstar Asia will start four weekly flights to Haikou in China's Hainan island in December after taking delivery of its eighth A320, marking its first services to mainland China. It is part of expansion plans which also include the resumption of services to Phuket and extra frequencies on services such as Singapore to Manila.

It will add two more A320s by May and will unveil additional routes to deploy these aircraft on in the coming months. Jetstar Asia chief executive Chong Phit Lian says India, where it formerly operated to Bangalore and Kolkata, remains on the carrier's radar.

"India is definitely a country we want to evaluate as our aircraft have the range to fly to the cities in Southern India," she says. "With the new interline agreements that we plan to sign in the coming months, we expect a lot more interest in services to India".

Italready has an interline agreement with Qantas and the latter's Australia-based low-cost operation, Jetstar. Chong says it will follow the same model for interline agreements as Australia's Jetstar.

She adds it could start long-haul low-cost services out of Singapore if it secures some of the A330-200s that Qantas Airways is taking on lease. The first of these arrive in November 2010 and three more follow in 2011 and Qantas has said these are for Jetstar. But Chong says her carrier hopes to get some of the A330s so it can emulate Australia's Jetstar and launch long-haul operations from Singapore. "I would want to make sure that there are some A330s coming our way. I have to make the business plan and put the suggestion up to our board, but we are very keen on using the aircraft to start long-haul services," she says.

"People say that the region does not have successful long-haul low fare operators, but Jetstar Australia has built up its brand and has been doing that successfully for several years. That is our model."

Source: Flight Daily News