Jetstar Asia is the latest airline to resume services to China, starting with flights between Singapore and Haikou this month.
Hot on the heels of its relocation to Terminal 4 at Singapore Changi Airport, low-cost carrier Jetstar Asia announced it is resuming services to Mainland China this week. Once a thriving part of the airline’s network, routes to China have been off-limits for three years since the onset of COVID-19.
Before the pandemic, Jetstar Asia, a member of the Qantas Group, operated services to six destinations in China. The first route to be resumed will be between Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) and Haikou Meilan International (HAK). The service will commence on April 29th, and the restart will coincide with the Golden Week Labour Day long weekend.
First time back in China
Jetstar Asia flight 3K 817 will depart Singapore Changi on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and arrive in Haikou at 11:05. The returning flight 3K 818 leaves Haikou at 12:00 and arrives back in Singapore at 15:30. Jetstar Asia will operate the service using an Airbus A320-200 with flight durations of around three and a half hours.
Jetstar expects to carry around 70,000 passengers annually on the route’s four weekly return services. The airline is cashing in on the pent-up demand for passengers wanting to return to the port city and capital of China’s island province of Hainan. Jetstar Asia’s regional general manager for Southeast Asia and Greater China, Xu Haibing, said:
“Haikou was the very first Chinese city Jetstar Asia flew to in 2009, and as the first international airline to provide low-cost travel to customers in China, we have a long-standing relationship with the city of Haikou.
“Nearly fifteen years later, Haikou remains an important port for Jetstar Asia and a popular destination for our customers, including the many Singaporeans with Hainanese heritage.”
Jetstar also sees significant opportunities in the traffic from Haikou to Singapore Changi, offering passengers from China seamless connectivity throughout Southeast Asia, including Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta, Bali, and Surabaya. For Jetstar Asia, the resumption of flights between Singapore and China means more opportunities for family reunions and an essential part of the region’s tourism industry.
All smiles now in T4
After an initial squabble with Changi Airport, Jetstar Asia has settled into its new home in Terminal 4 and plans to expand its network and fleet. Before COVID-19 grounded fleets, Jetstar operated more than 80 weekly services to six destinations in Greater China, including Haikou, Shantou, Sanya, Xuzhou, Guiyang, and Taipei in Taiwan.
As it goes about its post-pandemic recovery, Changi Airport is keen to add more connections to the recently reopened Chinese market. Changi Airport Group, executive vice president of Air Hub & Cargo Development Lim Ching Kiat, welcomed the boost of more flights between China and Singapore.
“The restoration of Jetstar’s Singapore-Haikou service will provide more options for travelers between China and Singapore. The recovery of Singapore-China flight frequency is currently at around 40% of pre-COVID-19 levels, and we look forward to welcoming more Chinese tourists to Singapore this year.”
To stimulate demand for the route, Jetstar is offering special one-way fares from Singapore to Haikou of SGD$128 ($96), available until April 24th.
Every one of these new or resumed connections, no matter how small, is another brick in the wall of global aviation’s return to full recovery. How quickly that happens depends heavily on two-way travel between China and the rest of the world, so Jetstar’s Haikou route is another step in the right direction.
Source: Simple Flying