A few days after announcing a new CEO, Australian airline Jetstar is back on TV screens for all the wrong reasons. For most of this month, the low-cost carrier has been in the news, mainly showing disgruntled passengers in airports in Australia, Japan, Hawaii and Bali.
Jetstar is the low-cost carrier of the Qantas Group and operates a network of around 38 destinations in 11 countries. The airline recommenced international services in December 2021 with a flight from Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) to Fiji’s Nadi International Airport (NAN). It relies on its fleet of 11 Boeing B787-8s for most of its international flying, leaving the domestic duties mainly to the 65 Airbus A320-family aircraft in the fleet. Since the start of September, Jetstar has been plagued with a raft of issues that have grounded several of the B787-8s, with at one point six of the eleven out of service.
It’s the peak time for an LCC
At one point, Jetstar had six of its 11 Boeing B787-8s out of action as cancellations took off. Photo: Jetstar
September is peak school holiday time in Australia and is usually a profitable time for a leisure carrier like Jetstar, particularly on its routes to holiday hotspots like Bali, Honolulu, Singapore and Tokyo. Today’s focus is on canceled flights between Australia and Hawaii, with two Sydney to Honolulu flights canceled since Saturday. Jetstar also canceled one Sydney to Bali’s Denpasar Ngurah Rai Airport (DPS), with another delayed for 24 hours on Saturday. This is the second round of disruptions for holiday travelers heading to Bali, with more than 4,000 passengers affected when eight return services were canceled two weeks ago.
Other destinations that have been severely disrupted include flights to Singapore Changi Airport, Bangkok and Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT). Given the cancelation of flights leaving Australia, it’s no surprise that hundreds of passengers are stuck in Honolulu, and with other airlines’ flights full, getting home has become a nightmare for many. Qantas does fly from Honolulu to Australia, but at these times, it appears from one tweet it is not doing stranded Jetstar passengers any favors, despite both being in the Qantas Group. Typically a one-way Jetstar flight from Honolulu to Sydney costs around AU$600 ($380), not the AU$3,000 ($1,930) this guy paid.
What does Jetstar say about it?
Until recently, Jetstar has not had all that much to say, initially blaming global supply chain shortages for lack of parts for planned and unplanned maintenance on the B787s. A spokesperson told Melbourne’s Age newspaper:
“Our Boeing 787 fleet has recently been impacted by a number of unexpected issues requiring engineering work, including damage caused by debris on the runway and multiple lightning strikes and bird strikes, which has impacted our international network.”
The airline also said that all affected passengers were offered a flight credit, an alternative flight or a refund. It also reportedly offered stranded passengers waiting for an alternative flight AU$150 ($97) a night for accommodation and AU$30 ($20) per person for food, although some complained it was “not nearly enough” and that it had not yet arrived. Australians are not used to this level of continued disruption, and Jetstar’s reputation is being trashed in all forms of media. The new CEO, Stephanie Tully, will need to work hard to restore that and passenger confidence in the airline.
Any Jetstar passengers out there like to add their comments?
Source: The Age