Jetstar Pacific not being taken over, group says

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Budget airline Jetstar Group on Thursday denied reports that its Vietnam-based offshoot will be absorbed into national carrier Vietnam Airlines due to financial problems.

"Jetstar has reiterated its commitment to Jetstar Pacific and dismissed erroneous claims that [it] is to be absorbed as part of a proposed airline deal," the company said in a statement.

Vietnamese government's investment arm SCIC is the majority owner of Jetstar Pacific. The carrier is 27 percent owned by the Qantas Group, which includes Jetstar.

"The misleading claims stem from reports of a proposed ownership swap between SCIC and Vietnam Airlines a swap that the Qantas Group has publicly said it supports," Jetstar said in its statement.

"The Qantas Group's 27 percent share would be unaffected by the deal," it said.

At least one local news website has reported that Jetstar Pacific would be merged into Vietnam Airlines. The report, dated December 3, cited an official of the Vietnamese aviation authority as saying that the merger was the best solution to help Jetstar Pacific from going bankrupt.

Jetstar Group CEO Bruce Buchanan said the company remained committed to the Vietnamese market as part of its broader pan-Asian strategy. He added that Vietnam Airlines would be welcomed as a partner in Jetstar Pacific.

The head of Qantas corporate communications, Olivia Wirth, told Australian radio ABC Thursday that Jetstar Pacific "has been up and running for a number of years."

"It's an absolutely core part to Jetstar's presence in Asia "¦ We see Jetstar Pacific as an important part of this ongoing growth and will continue to be so," Wirth said.

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