Jetstar has fired its no doubt first of many return shots following earlier announcements by Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines’ Silk Air subsidiary, of their expansionary plans for Darwin-Sydney and Darwin-Singapore services respectively.
From 25 March Jetstar is lifting its Darwin-Singapore flights from seven to 10 returns weekly, meaning it will offer five flights for every two flown on the route by Silk Air, and even more by way of seats, as it really crams them in.
However it is also dropping its four times weekly Darwin-Ho Chi Minh City flights, while pointing out for the masochistic, that Jetstar Asia is already offering numerous opportunities to fly to both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh from Singapore, although readers familiar with the geography may baulk at the thought of going Darwin-Singapore-Vietnam without remedial therapy in between.
Jetstar International will also link Darwin to Tokyo and the impending Jetstar Japan domestic franchise with a four times weekly service from late March via Manila.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
This is an important development for Northern Territory tourism, which has been long been disadvantaged by a lack of realistically scheduled capacity between the top end and the red centre and Japan.
However the new Jetstar links will with the start of Jetstar Japan operations deliver not just better access between the NT and Japan, but a better domestic feed through Tokyo.
The new Tokyo link will enable more time efficient itineraries linking tourists from Japan to NT attractions without costly back tracking to east coast cities for those who wish to enter or leave via Sydney or the Gold Coast for example.