Seeking international routes: JAL president Masaru Onishi says short-haul flights to destinations such as China, Korea and Taiwan are key to Jetstar Japan's future.

Jetstar will cease flight from the Gold Coast to Osaka in May 2014. Photo: Bloomberg

Jetstar has decided to ditch flights on the underperforming route between the Gold Coast and Japan’s third biggest city of Osaka in favour of a new service from Melbourne to Tokyo.

The rejig of its international network comes just two days after Qantas’ budget offshoot decided to further reduce flights to the Northern Territory and close its aircraft base in Darwin, blaming intense competition from foreign airlines.

Jetstar’s head of Australasian operations, David Hall, said the Gold Coast-Osaka route had not been performing to expectations, and the decision to cut the service was ‘‘part of our response to the current state of the Australian aviation market and a realignment’’ of the airline’s international network.

‘‘This difficult decision fits with Jetstar’s strategy to ensure it deploys aircraft on routes that meet market demand,’’ he said.

‘‘We need to ensure that every flight we operate – particularly on our long-haul international network – provides a strong economic return and strengthens the position of the entire Jetstar Group.’’

The thrice-weekly service to Osaka will cease on May 8 next year.

Jetstar will maintain flights between the Gold Coast and Tokyo, which had stronger demand than the Osaka route.

As part of an overhaul of its international network, Jetstar announced on Wednesday that it will launch non-stop services four times a week between Melbourne and Tokyo’s Narita Airport in April.

Jetstar will use its twin-aisle A330s on the route.

Mr Hall said the Melbourne-Tokyo route had been ‘‘one of the largest unserved international markets in Australia’’.

They will be the first direct services between the two cities since 2008.

Passengers will be able to connect to domestic flights in Tokyo operated by its affiliate, Jetstar Japan, which has become the largest budget airline in the Asian nation since launching services in May last year.

Shares in Qantas rose 2.25¢ to 98.75¢ on Wednesday, in their first day of gains in seven trading sessions.