Jetstar enters Philippines budget airlines market
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - February 5, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Jetstar, Japan’s biggest low cost carrier, is set to operate direct services from three Japanese cities to Manila starting March as it continues its international expansion.

“Manila has great opportunity. There is a big potential for people in Japan to come to the Philippines and there are a lot of Filipinos living in Japan,” Jetstar Japan Co. Ltd chairman and representative director Masaru Kataoka said.

Manila will be the third international destination added to Jetstar Japan’s roster after Hong Kong and Taipei last year.

The new routes from Narita Airport in Tokyo and Chubu Airport in Nagoya to Manila will offer up to seven direct services a week on March 15 and April 1, respectively.

Starting April 7, Jetstar Japan will introduce four new weekly services from Osaka that will complement existing four weekly services schedule provided by its sister airline, Jetstar Asia.

With the presence of several LCC carriers, Kataoka said they will keep offering the lowest fares and will set up distribution channels through travel agencies to offer package deals as part of their strategy to handle growing competition among airlines.

“Competition is good for customers as well as for us because competing with each other allows customers to have more options on the lowest fares in the market,” he explained.

Although no exact plans have been made yet, Kataoka noted that considering new Philippine destinations and secondary hubs is also part of their expansion.

“This year we concentrate first in Manila. We believe all three routes will be successful,” he said.

Amid several issues on the country’s main hub Ninoy Aquino International Airport such as congestion and its facilities, Kataoka believes that it is something “uncontrollable” and also happens in other airports.

“I believe that the Philippine government will address such problems in a few years time. If not, we would look at different ports for future expansion such as Clark and Cebu,” he added.

Meanwhile, data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) showed tourist arrivals from Japan reached around 495,000 in 2015 and is expected to breach the 500,000 target this year.

“Our services will further support the increasing number of Japanese tourists visiting the Philippines as it is a popular year-round destination,” Kataoka added.

Filipino tourists in Japan for 2015 reached over 230,000, a 45 percent growth and is seen to increase up to more than 50 percent for 2016.

Jetstar Japan is part of the Jetstar Group that provides services across Australia, New Zealand, and the Asia Pacific region. It recorded 12 million passengers for 2015.

ACIRC ASIA PACIFIC CLARK AND CEBU DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM HONG KONG AND TAIPEI JAPAN JETSTAR JETSTAR ASIA JETSTAR GROUP JETSTAR JAPAN KATAOKA
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