Jetstar has resumed regular international flights into Darwin, with a flight touching down on Tuesday morning. The flight marks the restart of Jetstar services on the Singapore – Darwin city pair. It has been more than 600 days since Jetstar last flew regularly scheduled passenger flights on the route.
Darwin flights are an important step forwards in Jetstar Asia’s operations
Flight 3K161 is flying through the night and landed in Darwin just after 05:00 on Tuesday. The return service, 3K162, is due to take off at 05:30. However, owing to the slightly late inbound arrival, that departure will be delayed.
It takes around four and a half hours to cover the 2,074 miles (3,338 kilometers) between the two cities. Jetstar deploys a single-class Airbus A320-200s onto this city pair.
Jetstar Asia operates this flight. The Singapore-based airline is 49% owned by Qantas and is virtually indistinguishable from its Australia-based low-cost sibling airline, Jetstar. The majority owner (51%) of Jetstar Asia is Singapore-based Westbrook Investments.
“This is another important step forward in the ramp-up of Jetstar Asia’s operations,” said Jetstar Asia CEO Bara Pasupathi.
Initially, Jetstar Asia will operate return flights on the Singapore – Darwin city pair three times a week. By mid-January, this is increasing to four flights a week. Usually, Jetstar competes with now-defunct SilkAir on this route. With SilkAir now absorbed into the broader Singapore Airlines Group, it’s unclear what their plans, if any, are for the route.
The Northern Territory drops its quarantine rule for fully vaccinated travelers
Jetstar’s first international flights into Darwin coincide with the Northern Territory reopening its borders on Monday, December 20. Fully vaccinated travelers can now fly into Darwin without being subjected to a quarantine regime.
However, it isn’t a free-for-all. Fully vaccinated or not, Australia only allows its own citizens and permanent residents and those from a handful of approved countries to enter without quarantining. Fortunately, Singapore citizens and permanent residents are on the approved list. Singapore is also returning the favor, allowing fully vaccinated Australians to enter without quarantining.
Accordingly, Jetstar Asia has added Darwin to its vaccinated travel lane (VTL) network, joining the likes of Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, and Melbourne. At this stage, Jetstar flights between Singapore and Perth will resume early next year.
“Darwin Airport is delighted to welcome the return of Jetstar Asia,” said Darwin Airport’s Tom Ganley. “These flights herald the reopening of international borders with Darwin playing a pivotal role.”
With quarantine rules lapsing, Northern Territory Airports (operators of Darwin, Alice Springs, and Tennant Creek Airports) saw their busiest day in months on Monday.
“This service represents the resumption of travel between Darwin and Singapore, providing a vital connection for tourism, business, education, and trade,” adds Northern Territory Minister for Tourism and Hospitality Natasha Fyles.
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Jetstar beginning to resume its international operations
Darwin is the third Australian city to see Jetstar international operations recommence. Last week, Jetstar resumed daily Boeing 787-8 return flights on the Melbourne – Singapore city pair. The first flight, on Thursday, December 16, saw Jetstar’s Dreamliners back flying international operations for the first time since March 2020.
The next day, Friday, December 17, Jetstar resumed flights between Sydney and Nadi. These Airbus A320 flights will run five days a week.
“We’ve already seen strong demand for our international flights, and a recent survey of Jetstar customers showed that around three-quarters of respondents plan to travel overseas in the next 12 months,” noted Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans last week.
Jetstar and its identical twin sibling airline Jetstar Asia anticipate significantly stepping up international operations in 2022.