By Ian Neubauer
Jetstar has launched a new Sydney to Ho Chi Minh route with a Darwin stopover that will operate five times weekly.
The additional services will complement the budget carrier’s existing services to Singapore and compliment the launch of a new Darwin to Adelaide service that connects to Singapore and Vietnam. Passengers from Cairns and Melbourne can also transfer from domestic services to Singapore and Ho Chi Minh in either direction.
Darwin Airport CEO, Ian Kew, said his team was working closely with Jetstar to reign in security costs at the new international hub in Australia’s top end.
“The main factor impacting on our competitiveness is that we are a small regional airport that is required to have major city airport security – that creates disproportionate impost,” he said.
“Our costs are also affected by the fact that we operate 24 hours a day, which provides airlines the flexibility to arrive at times when there are curfews at some other airports.”
Kew said he is lobbying the Federal Government to reduce the impost on the airport’s operations that has proved in the past to be a serious disincentive for budget airlines.
Federally mandated security costs as a percentage of total airport charges at Australia’s major gateways range from 12 to 30 per cent. In Darwin they account for 42 and 57 per cent of total costs for domestic and international passengers respectively.