CHINA Eastern Airlines and Qantas have entered into a strategic partnership to create Jetstar Hong Kong, the first low-cost carrier based in the SAR.
Jetstar Hong Kong will incorporate both partners’ local knowledge and networks to service shorthaul routes in Asia, including Greater China, Japan, South Korea and South-east Asia.
Subject to regulatory approval, operations are scheduled to begin in 2013 with a fleet of three Airbus A320s, growing to 18 A320s by 2015.
Jetstar Group CEO, Bruce Buchanan, said: “This is a unique opportunity for Jetstar to capitalise on the enormous potential of the Greater Chinese market, where the penetration rate of low-cost carriers is less than five per cent."
Chairman of China Eastern Airlines, Liu Shaoyong, said: “We believe there are huge opportunities for the Jetstar low fares model throughout Asia, including Greater China, and are excited to be the first major Chinese carrier to bring this travel option to the region.”
"Cooperation with Qantas Group is a key step in China Eastern Airlines' international expansion strategy, and an excellent opportunity for China Eastern Airlines to develop low-cost carrier operations to complement its existing business model,” he added.
According to Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, the alliance with China Eastern will provide a platform for the Australian flag carrier to tap the Asian aviation market.
“We see tremendous potential for the Qantas Group in Asia and we’re looking forward to working more closely with China Eastern Airlines to deliver on it,” he said.
Jetstar Hong Kong will have a total capitalisation of up to US$198 million, with China Eastern Airlines and Qantas Group as equal partners in the joint venture.