Reports that Jetstar will launch new flights to Athens and Rome before next year are premature, a media spokesperson for the company has said.

The budget airline, a subsidiary of Qantas, is currently focused on its Pan Asian strategy.

“We have flagged our plans to further grow our capacity across the Asia region by 30 percent in the coming year,” the Jetstar spokesperson said.

“This is our immediate priority, together with our operations in Australia and New Zealand. We will consider and confirm future long haul destinations in the future, dependant on future aircraft deliveries of the Dreamliner, now expected from late 2012.”

Qantas hopes to launch its first international services on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner before the end of next year with the next-gen jetliner set to become the backbone of the fleet for everything from high-traffic domestic routes to new routes into Europe.

As a result of Boeing pushing back the Dreamliner’s launch as far as September 2012 – the sixth delay for delivery, which was first promised for May 2008 – Qantas now expects its first 787 to arrive in late 2012 rather than the previously pegged mid-year time frame.

“Delivery delays to date have been frustrating, and no doubt the same applies to all Dreamliner customers, but this latest update from Boeing gives us certainty around a delivery time,” a senior Qantas spokesman told Australian Business Traveller.

The airline is splitting its massive 50 aircraft order – the second largest airline order after ANA’s 55 – into 15 of the base model 787-8 for Jetstar, and 35 of the stretched 787-8 with slightly higher seating capacity to fly under Qantas livery.

Jetstar will get its first eight Boeing 787-8s from late 2012 to mid-2014 to fly international routes to New Zealand and Asia.

The Dreamliners will be a straight swap for Jetstar’s eight Airbus A330-200s, which will be handed over to Qantas for domestic and limited international use (such as Perth-Tokyo) in place of the ageing Boeing 767-300ERs which currently ply most of the local intra-city runs.

Jetstar will receive its remaining seven Dreamliners from mid-2014.

In addition to boosting the number of weekly services to current Asian destinations the fleet of 15 787s will allow Jetstar to launch new routes to Europe.

Athens, Milan, Munich and Rome are said to be on the shortlist and would transit via Singapore.