Jetstar Asia, the Singapore offshoot of Qantas-owned Jetstar Airways, announced yesterday that the airline will suspend all flights for at least the next three weeks, starting on Monday 23rd March, as a result of weak demand due to travel restrictions imposed since the spread of coronavirus.
“As a result of the introduction of new government restrictions across multiple jurisdictions in recent days, Jetstar Asia will suspend all services for a period of three weeks, from 23 March to 15 April 2020.” Jetstar.com
Jetstar Asia usually operates to 24 destinations from Singapore, including flights to Australia, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia. It is the sole carrier flying between Changi and both Sanya and Okinawa.
GDS data shows that the last Jetstar Asia flight to operate before the suspension will be 3K240 from Bali, landing into Changi at 2.05am on Monday 23rd March.
All the carrier’s 18 Airbus A320 aircraft will then face at least three weeks on the ground at Changi before any flying activity is resumed, a period that could be further extended if weak demand persists.
If you have an existing Jetstar Asia booking for travel from 15th March to 30th April 2020, you will be offered a refund to the full value of your untraveled booking in the form of a travel credit voucher.
Due to the high demand at the contact centre, Jetstar is recommending for customers to request their voucher by visiting Manage My Booking and following these steps:
- Enter your booking number and last name
- Click on the ‘find out more’ button
- Select ‘check flight options’ button
- Click ‘view other options’ button
- Select ‘request reimbursement’
The only exception is for those with a 3K flight number booking to/from Australia or to/from Japan, who are requested to wait to receive a letter from Jetstar regarding available options before visiting Manage My Booking.
The credit voucher can be redeemed up to the value stated on the voucher in one booking only within 6 months of issue, for travel on Jetstar within 12 months of the booking date. A fare difference, if any, will apply.
If your flights were booked through a travel agency or third-party website, you can also request a voucher by visiting Manage My Booking.
Full details are available here.
The news comes as the Qantas Group announced a 90% cut in capacity on international routes from the end of this month, with a 60% reduction in Australian domestic flying, until at least the end of May 2020.
In total that represents the grounding of around 150 aircraft, including almost all of the Group’s wide-body fleet (Qantas operates 56 wide-body aircraft while Jetstar Australia operates 11).
Details of the Qantas service reductions on a route-by-route basis are expected to be announced later this week.
SIA Group cuts
Jetstar is the first Singapore-based airline to announce that it is completely suspending services as a result of the situation. Meanwhile Singapore Airlines has announced a 50% capacity cut, outweighing the reductions made during the height of the SARS crisis in 2003.
“We have lost a large amount of our traffic in a very short time, and it will not be viable for us to maintain our current network. Make no mistake – we expect the pace of this deterioration to accelerate. The SIA Group must be prepared for a prolonged period of difficulty.” SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong
Full details of SIA’s suspended flights are due to be released today, however we already noted significantly increased cuts on Australia and New Zealand routes in our article yesterday, including the temporary suspension of all flights to Adelaide, Christchurch, Darwin, Cairns and Wellington next month, with Brisbane only seeing a handful of services per week.
Yesterday’s snapshot looks to be the tip of the iceberg however. GDS is now reflecting just six flights per week to Sydney in April (down from 35 per week), and severe cuts on other routes with SIA’s Singapore – London services reducing from four flights per day to only a single daily link next month.
Scoot services are also set to be dramatically cut.
All the news from the airlines at the moment points to a long period of hardship, with drastic measures being taken as we’ve seen from Jetstar Asia this week.
Other airlines completely (or almost completely) suspending flight operations include SAS and Brussels Airlines in Europe, with the list seemingly growing by the day.
As the CEO of Singapore Airlines alluded to yesterday, things are probably going to get worse before they get better.
(Cover Photo: Sudpoth Sirirattanasaku / Shutterstock)