Jetstar Asia To Retire Five Airbus A320s Amid Recovery Plan

Jetstar Asia has become the latest airline to announce cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, the Singapore-based low-cost carrier announced that it would be retiring five Airbus A320s and axing 180 staff as part of its COVID-19 recovery plan.

Jetstar Asia aircraft parked on the runway.
Jetstar Asia is set to reduce its fleet as part of its COVID-19 recovery plan. Photo: Getty Images.

Recovery plan

Jetstar Asia has become the latest airline in a long list to announce changes to its operations. Last Thursday (June 25th) the airline gave details on its plans to ride out the coronavirus pandemic which included reducing its fleet and cutting jobs. The carrier plans to permanently retire five Airbus A320s, reducing its fleet to just 13 aircraft.

The low-cost carrier also announced that it will be axing 180 jobs, which represents approximately 26% of its workforce. The majority of its remaining employees will remain furloughed until the end of the year. The airline said that the job cuts will come from across all parts of the business.

The adjustments came after consultations with its two stakeholders; Qantas Group and Westbrook Investments. Qantas group owns 49% of Jetstar Asia, with the other 51% belonging to Singapore shareholder Westbrook Investments.

Jetstar services were suspended on March 23rd after the coronavirus pandemic forced international travel to be restricted. While the majority of the fleet remained grounded, limited services to Manila and Kuala Lumpar resumed on April 21st to repatriate citizens and permanent residents. The carrier also operated cargo flights to Bangkok.

Jetstar Asia plane on tarmac
Jetstar Asia plans to resume links between Australia and New Zealand in August. Photo: Steven Byles via Wikimedia Commons

Jetstar Asia plan to continue low-cost travel

Jetstar Asia Chief Executive Bara Pasupathi said in a statement to Channel News Asia that the pandemic has forced the airline to make tough decisions. He added that the decisions made aim to ensure that the airline can carry on operating while continuing to provide low-cost travel. He said,

Singapore and Changi Airport remain a strategic footprint for Jetstar Asia and the Qantas Group, and we look forward to growing passenger numbers further through innovation and enhancing the customer experience in the future.”

Pasupathi also thanked the Singapore government for the support they have given to the aviation industry. Under the Jobs Support Scheme announced by the government in April, the aviation industry and tourism sector are eligible for 75% wage support for the nine months that the scheme is in effect.

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Qantas and Jetstar
More than half of Qantas Group’s 29,000 employees will remain on leave for months as part of its recovery plan. Photo: Getty Images

Parent company announce cuts

Thursday’s announcement came as Jetstar Asia’s parent company, Qantas Group, detailed its post-COVID-19 recovery plan. Qantas Group will also reduce both its fleet and workforce, axing 20% of its employees from across the company. In addition, the airline plans to ground 100 of its planes for at least a year. These changes come as international travel to Australia is expected to be impacted for at least the next 12 months.

Qantas and Jetstar are, however, trying to make the most of domestic tourism within Australia. The airlines have launched a massive sale on domestic routes, with Jetstar advertising 10,000 fares for just $13.

The carrier is set to resume domestic services in New Zealand from July 1st, operating 75 return flights weekly across five routes. From August, it hopes to resume travel between Australia and New Zealand, but all other international flights from the region remain suspended until October 25th.

What do you think of Jetstar’s plans to reduce its fleet? Let us know in the comments.