January 11, 2024
SINGAPORE – After nearly 12 years at the helm, Mr Barathan Pasupathi, the chief executive of Singapore-based low-cost carrier Jetstar Asia, will step down on March 1, handing over the reins to a senior executive from Australian flag carrier Qantas.
Jetstar Asia, which is 51 per cent owned by Singapore company Westbrook Investments and 49 per cent owned by Qantas, said in a statement on Jan 9 that Mr Barathan, 55, is leaving to pursue other opportunities.
He will be replaced by Singapore-based John Simeone, also 55, who is currently senior vice-president for Asia at Qantas.
Mr Simeone, who has been with Qantas since 1997, returned to the Republic in 2023 after a two-year stint in Sydney overseeing international sales, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He will step down from his current role at the Australian carrier when he takes on his new appointment as Jetstar Asia chief. His replacement at Qantas has yet to be named.
Mr Simeone said: “My focus will be to continue the exciting journey we’ve started, building capacity and connectivity out of Changi Airport.”
Jetstar Asia chairman Dennis Choo said Mr Simeone will join Jetstar Asia with a deep knowledge of the Singapore and Asian aviation markets.
Mr Choo thanked Mr Barathan, who took over as CEO in July 2012, for his “exceptional contribution” to the airline over the years.
In July 2023, Mr Barathan had announced plans for the airline to hire more than 200 pilots and cabin crew as part of its efforts to rebuild post-Covid-19.
Two more Airbus A320 aircraft were also supposed to join the carrier’s fleet by the end of 2023.
So far, the airline has received one of the two planes, taking its total fleet to eight A320s. The other plane is expected to arrive in the coming weeks, said a Jetstar Asia spokeswoman.
During his time as chief, Mr Barathan oversaw difficult periods for the carrier, including a pause in growth plans in 2014 due to high fuel costs and intense competition.
In 2020, it cut about 180 jobs, or a quarter of its Singapore-based workforce, as Covid-19 brought air travel to a standstill.
The Jetstar group was also mired in months of negotiations with Changi Airport Group in 2022 over the relocation of its operations from Terminal 1 to Terminal 4.
Since then, Jetstar Asia has begun to re-establish its network, resuming flights to several destinations in China and Japan.