Qantas goes where Singapore Airlines has been

Some feedback I received to my last post (“Can Jetstar Take On SIA?) points to a backfire on Qantas – instead of Singapore Airlines (SIA) feeling the heat of the competition – of budget carrier Jetstar Airways’ plans to operate direct daily services between Singapore and Melbourne as well as Auckland as part of its long-haul venture.

It can happen if the products offered by parent Qantas and its offshoot Jetstar are not sufficiently differentiated. Jetstar may then grow at the expense of Qantas.

Interestingly, it looks like Qantas is taking Jetways to where SIA has been with its subsidiary SilkAir though it is noted that SilkAir is not a budget carrier but rather a second carrier to SIA operating the short haul.

In fact, SilkAir started with the name Tradewinds as a carrier for leisure travel within the region, generally to more remote ports where SIA does not operate and distinctively different from the business travel and perhaps more “formal” (for lack of a better word) travel carried by SIA.

Success always breeds ambition and it becomes difficult to suppress an eagerness to grow and venture into new experiences. Tradewinds was renamed SilkAir to shed its casual image and introduced business class travel, competing with other airlines including SIA on routes that include the popular Singapore-Jakarta sector.

It was a bitter lesson learnt. SilkAir has come a full circle to complementing SIA rather than competing – whether intentionally or otherwise – with the parent.

It could serve too to educate Qantas and Jetstar unless theirs is a completely different game plan.

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About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

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