Changi Airport Jetstar News

Jetstar Asia moving to Changi Airport Terminal 4 by late March 2023

Jetstar Asia will move to Changi Airport Terminal 4 after all, with an agreement now reached for operations to shift across from T1 by 25th March 2023.

After many months of a “will they, won’t they” saga between Jetstar and Changi Airport Group (CAG) over a proposed move for the carrier from Terminal 1 across to Terminal 4, there has now been confirmation from both sides that a relocation agreement has been reached.

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After a reprieve for Jetstar, which has been allowed to remain in Terminal 1 beyond CAG’s initially proposed move date of 25th October 2022, the carrier will now make the move to Terminal 4 in the first quarter of 2023, following “a joint study on the airline’s operations at the airport”.

Jetstar Asia is the smallest of Singapore’s three passenger airlines.
(Photo: Plane’s Portrait Aviation Media / Malcolm Lu)

Jetstar’s amicable agreement with CAG

The two sides have now agreed on the terms of the move, in a show of much closer unity than was evident when CAG first announced what the carrier saw as a “unilateral” decision to move it there without consultation, back in July this year.

Indeed Jetstar released a swift rebuke just an hour after CAG’s initial press release at the time, to what it labelled a “disappointing” announcement, telling the airport it had “no intention” of moving to T4.

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CAG later released a media statement saying that Jetstar had been aware of plans to move its operations to T4, even before COVID-19, but it was clear the two sides were far from close to agreeing on the matter at the time.

Jetstar did not want to move to T4, which is physically separated from Changi’s three main terminals, since it would affect connectivity with partner and group airlines. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Thankfully what looked to be a potentially bitter dispute has shifted to amicable agreement between the two sides.

“CAG values Jetstar Asia as an airline partner and we are pleased to reaffirm our strategic partnership. We have been working very closely with Jetstar Asia over the past few months to study intensively the potential impact of its move on passenger experience and its business.

“Following the completion of our joint study, which included operational trials, we are glad to have reached agreement. Jetstar Asia’s move will enable Changi Airport to optimise the use of its aircraft gates in order to meet increasing travel demand, especially during the early morning peak period. It will also create headroom for Jetstar Asia and other airlines to grow at Changi.”

Mr Lim Ching Kiat, MD of Air Hub Development, CAG

Jetstar’s tone regarding the terminal move has certainly changed, since its initial angry admonishment back in July.

“I extend my appreciation to CAG and the many Jetstar team members who were involved in this critical joint study. Our priority has always been to provide a safe operation while continuing to offer the excellent travel experience our customers have come to expect from Jetstar.

“Since launching our operations in Singapore 18 years ago, Jetstar has called Terminal 1 home. During this time, we have welcomed more than 40 million customers on board our flights and extended our excellent product offering to premium airline partners including Qantas, Emirates and around 40 other codeshare and interline carriers.

“Moving to Terminal 4 is the start of a new chapter. We are committed to continuing to ramp up our operation and plan for future growth, and we appreciate the assurances that CAG have given ahead of this move.”

Barathan Pasupathi, CEO, Jetstar Asia

Jetstar to move to T4 by 25th March 2023

While no specific date has been finalised, CAG has announced that Jetstar will relocate its operations to Terminal 4 “by 25th March 2023”.

CAG’s Managing Director of Air Hub Development Mr Lim Ching Kiat stated “we recognise that Jetstar Asia requires more time to prepare for the relocation to T4. Hence, we have agreed to extend the timeline for its move by five months”.

Jetstar has operated at Changi T1 for the last 18 years. (Photo: Aero Icarus)

That’s probably logical because 25th March 2023 also represents the first day of the IATA northern summer 2023 schedule.

Jetstar no doubt needs to adjust its flight timings on some routes to retain passenger connections with its partner carriers at Changi, including Qantas and Emirates, now that the Minimum Connection Time (MCT) will be increased from as little as 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes in most cases.

Doing so from the start of a ‘fresh’ timetable period minimises the number of changes for the carrier’s regular customers.

Jetstar Asia currently offers connections with partners through Changi with as little as 60 minutes connection time, but this will have to increase once it moves to T4

Jetstar Asia is operating over 120 flights per week from Changi, based on December 2022 schedules, around 41% of its pre-pandemic total.

What about Jetstar Australia?

When CAG first announced that Jetstar was moving to T4, much to the group’s obvious dismay at the time, Jetstar Australia (JQ) flights were also set to move across to the facility.

Interestingly the latest media statement from CAG only mentions Jetstar Asia (3K) flights shifting to the terminal by 25th March 2023, so it will be interesting to see whether the Australian parent company’s services will remain in T1 alongside Qantas.

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Jetstar Australia (JQ) currently operates four times weekly Boeing 787-8 flights between Singapore and Melbourne, due to increase to six times weekly by December 2022.

Jetstar Australia’s flights from Changi include up to six times weekly Boeing 787 services to Melbourne. (Photo: Damien Aiello)

Update: Jetstar Australia (JQ) has confirmed to us that “no decision has been made” regarding moving its flights to T4. This announcement only affects Jetstar Asia (3K) flights for now, with the Australian division “still reviewing the best option for their operations [at Changi] given the significant amount of connecting passengers” between the two airlines.

Prior to COVID-19 the airline also operated daily services from Singapore to Perth via Bali using Airbus A320s, with “fifth freedom” traffic rights between Singapore and Bali included, however these flights have not yet been reinstated.

It’s bad news for lounge access

One of the major downsides for Jetstar moving to T4 is lounge access for Qantas frequent flyers, and those connecting from Qantas and some other partner flights in Business or First Class, who currently enjoy access to one of the airline’s two lounges in T1 before their Jetstar flight.

Qantas Platinum and Platinum One members flying on Jetstar from Changi currently have access to the excellent Qantas Singapore First Lounge prior to departure. (Photo: Qantas)

This will become a more complicated affair once the carrier moves to T4.

Those travelling on point-to-point Jetstar Asia services with sufficient Qantas Frequent Flyer status will have to take an airside shuttle bus to T1 after clearing T4 immigration in order to use the Qantas T1 lounges (buses run every 10-13 minutes).

This will drop them at Gate C21, where they will have to return after their lounge visit in sufficient time to make it back to T4 for their Jetstar flight.

All in all, that may simply be more hassle than it’s worth.

T1 is linked to T4 at the airside by a shuttle bus running 5-6 times per hour from gate C21. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Those with sufficient status connecting from partner flights arriving in T1, but later departing on Jetstar Asia from T4 (e.g. BA Business Class passengers or Qantas Golds / Platinums) will also have to build in a decent amount of time to head to T4 for boarding.

This could cut down their lounge time significantly, while for the shortest connections – it simply won’t be possible to snag any lounge time.

The T4 Blossom Lounge will be available

Thankfully there will be some ‘lounge reprieve’ for those departing on Jetstar Asia flights from T4, in the form of the third-party Blossom Lounge, which reopened on 13th September 2022.

This will allow access to those with several lounge memberships, including Priority Pass, to have some pre-flight respite from the terminal, though we don’t expect Jetstar to offer gratis entry to Qantas Frequent Flyer members, since this would no doubt prove too expensive.

Changi Airport’s latest T4 airline list

Given this confirmation that Jetstar Asia flights will relocate to Changi T4 by late March next year, here’s a reminder of all the operators at the terminal, including when they moved to the reopened facility post-COVID.

Changi T4 Airlines

Current Airlines Former
Terminal
Relocated
(2022)
Cathay_Pacific Cathay Pacific
(CX)
T1 13 September
Korean_Air Korean Air
(KE)
T1 13 September
AirAsia AirAsia
(AK, FD, QZ, Z2)
T1 15 September
Bamboo Airways
(QH)
T1 20 September
Cebu_Pacific_Air Cebu Pacific
(5J)
T1 20 September
HK Express
(UO)
T1 20 September
Jeju_Air Jeju Air
(7C)
T1 20 September