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.
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’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.
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.
Thankfully what looked to be a potentially bitter dispute has shifted to amicable agreement between the two sides.
Jetstar’s tone regarding the terminal move has certainly changed, since its initial angry admonishment back in July.
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”.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
(AK, FD, QZ, Z2)
|by 25 March|
(if moving at all!)
After a few months of uncertainly, and a recent announcement that Jetstar would be remaining in T1 for the time being, we now have confirmation that CAG’s original plan to shift the carrier to T4 will go ahead by late March 2023.
This will assist the airport operator with gate capacity “especially during the early morning peak period”.
This will affect Jetstar Asia (3K), but the impact on Jetstar Australia (JQ), which currently only operates some evening flights from the airport, is not clear at the moment.
The move will be bad news for connecting passengers between Jetstar Asia and a host of codeshare and interline partners, most of which use T1 at Changi, who will have a more complex transit journey.
Sadly it will also make lounge use more complex (or more abbreviated!) for those eligible.
What do you think about Jetstar Asia’s move to T4? Let us know in the comments section below.
(Cover Photo: SAA Architects)