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Jetstar shuts Darwin base as competition grows

Jetsar has axed flights from Darwin to Manila and Tokyo and scaled back other services from the Northern Territory following increased competition from foreign airlines.

The carrier will also close its base in Darwin and instead establish an operation in Adelaide. Three A320 aircraft will move from the NT to the South Australian capital with a fourth A320 relocating to Adelaide from Melbourne.

Along with the suspension of the underperforming Manila and Tokyo services, Jetstar will reduce Darwin to Singapore flights from nine per week to daily with Jetstar Asia taking over the operation of the route.

Flights to Bali will reduce from eight per week to daily.

Domestically, flights from Darwin to Cairns will increase from three per week to daily while the number of Brisbane service will fall from nine to daily. Overall, Jetstar flights from Darwin will fall from 54 to 49 per week.

Jetstar said Darwin has always been among the most marginal on its network.

“The decision to relocate flying [to Adelaide] is in response to increased capacity and competition, particularly on international routes from foreign carriers,” the carrier said in a statement.

“These changes will ensure we maintain the highest productivity of our aircraft and reflect our strategy to deploy aircraft on routes to meet market demand.

“It makes sense to base aircraft where there is more network growth as it keeps our fares low and ensures we have the flexibility to optimise our network and adapt to changing market conditions.”

The creation of a cabin crew and pilot base in Adelaide will see the workforce grow from 40 to 160 with recruitment to start today.

The announcement came as the Qantas off-shoot is poised to launch its first international service from Adelaide, to Auckland and Bali.

“Basing four aircraft at Adelaide will allow us to expand our schedule and add one extra daily flight between Melbourne and Adelaide and Sydney and Adelaide respectively,” Jetstar Australia and New Zealand chief executive David Hall said.

“Our presence in Adelaide has more than doubled in the past four years and we believe the establishment of a dedicated crew base will provide a solid foundation to continue to grow low fares from the capital of South Australia.”

Jetstar, which operates up to 88 domestic services each week from Adelaide, will launch a three times weekly service to Auckland on December 16 and a three times weekly flight to Bali on December 18.

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