Another plank has fallen into place in Qantas’s continuing campaign to drive down costs in its full service domestic and international businesses. Jetstar, its discount arm, is boosting the number of staff in Cairns, the base of its international discount operation, Australian Airlines.

This comes as Jetstar is moving closer to flying the trans-Tasman route, the most competitive in the region with up to six airlines flying between here and New Zealand.

Jetstar will base 135 staff and three aircraft full-time in Cairns. According to the Qantas website, Jetstar doesn’t fly to Cairns at the moment, but the Jetstar website claims it has flights from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. The staff and plane build-up will happen over the next three years.

Qantas is using Jetstar to fly more and more low yield (tourist) routes in Australia, and with the trans-Tasman now basically a tourist route it makes sense for the discount operation to stick its toe into the water within the next year. It’s using the two discount operators to drive down costs across the airline, with the slow migration of the awards from Jetstar and Australian back into the Qantas businesses.