Grounded: Jetstar Airbus A320s are parked in Toulouse, France, for now.
Jetstar's fledging offshoot in Hong Kong is considering the sale and leaseback of its growing fleet of new Airbus A320s stuck on the ground to try to reduce costs while it awaits regulatory approval to launch flights.
The delays come as pressure builds on Jetstar's parent, Qantas, to find ways to satisfy investors who are eager for it to present a credible plan to strip out costs and become more competitive against Virgin Australia.
Jetstar confirmed that selling the Hong Kong affiliate's planes to a leasing company, and leasing them back when needed, was an option it was considering.
Up to seven of the new single-aisle A320s remain parked at Airbus' manufacturing base in Toulouse, France. Jetstar is also said to be due to take delivery of a further two planes by June.
The planes were among a large order of A320s by the Qantas group.
Jetstar Hong Kong and its three shareholders - Qantas, China Eastern and listed conglomerate Shun Tak - are bearing the growing cost of the parked planes.
The airline, which faces stiff opposition from Cathay Pacific, has been hiring staff since late 2012 and now has a permanent workforce of about 50, including pilots and cabin crew.
The airline's fate remains in the hands of Hong Kong regulators who have given no indication of when they will decide whether to grant it approval to fly. Jetstar had originally targeted the middle of last year.
Last month it turned down a proposal from Qantas, which was detailed in a leaked letter, to take three A320s and store at least two of them in Australia.
Jetstar's new offshoot in Japan has also been forced to keep at least four new A320s on the ground because of delays with regulators deciding whether they will allow the budget airline to set up a second base in the country.
Jetstar's Asian ventures have been hailed as the long-term growth engines for Qantas.
Qantas booked $50 million in start-up costs for the Jetstar ventures in Hong Kong and Japan last financial year, up from $31 million a year earlier.
After Moody's this week downgraded Qantas to junk status, Credit Suisse analysts said the airline's strategic review remained the major catalyst for the stock and a test of management's credibility.
The analysts said the onus was on Qantas management to present a credible strategy for reducing costs to help it meet the challenge posed by a rejuvenated Virgin.
Qantas will reveal details of its strategic review at its half-year results late next month.