JETSTAR also drops a very strong hint that it will fly its new Dreamliner 787s to Honolulu and Phuket from the start of February, reports one Australian aviation expert.
PHUKET: Jetstar is to launch twice-weekly non-stop flights between Melbourne and Phuket from December, boosting the island's appeal for Australian tourists.
The Qantas off-shoot will operate two flights each week to Phuket from December 14, rising to three in March.
''We see a lot of customers booking flights to Phuket via Sydney and Singapore so we've decided to add a non-stop flight for Victorians,'' said Jetstar Group chief commercial officer David Koczkar.
The direct Melbourne-Phuket flights are likely to tap passengers from the southern states of Australia who might previously have been put off by the need to fly to Sydney first.
Phuket-Melbourne hasn't been operated since Air Australia - previously Strategic - went belly up in February last year, stranding passengers on Phuket.
The fledgling airline - which also linked Phuket and Brisbane direct - wasn't equipped to handle breakdowns.
Jetstar is larger and much more efficient. The Australian carrier is engaged in a struggle with AirAsia and other no-frills carriers for the hearts, minds and bums of passengers throughout Asia.
From December 19 Jetstar will add a fourth weekly flight between Melbourne and Honolulu and a sixth weekly flight between Melbourne and Singapore.
The additional A330 services will operate until the end of January.
In a separate announcement, Jetstar Asia said it will add 18 weekly flights from Singapore to Indonesia, Cambodia and China from October 27 following the arrival of two more A320s.