Jetstar has on order 18 Airbus A321LR aircraft, a special long-range variant of the A321neo. But where will Jetstar deploy these aircraft, and what can customers expect to experience onboard?
What are the details of the order?
Jetstar group placed an order for 18 Airbus A321LR aircraft back in 2018, with the majority being sent to Australia in mid-2020 for routes operating within the country (such as the popular Sydney to Melbourne route) and some international travel.
However, some aircraft could be sent overseas to Jetstar Japan and other Jetstar subsidiaries, depending on market forces.
Where will they be flown?
Jetstar currently has two ‘types’ of aircraft in its fleet. Short-range Airbus A320s and long-range Boeing 787s. The new A321LR fills a natural gap in their fleet makeup for medium-haul routes that don’t really need an entire Boeing 787. This might include Australian tourist routes like Brisbane to Bali, or connecting regional Australian areas to Asian cities.
Alan Joyce, the CEO of Jetstar’s parent airline Qantas and in charge of Qantas Group as a whole, said this back in June:
“We already know the A320 is a great aircraft and this new variant can fly further and more efficiently than any other single-aisle jet on the market. It can fly routes like Cairns-Tokyo or Melbourne-Singapore, which existing narrow-bodies can’t, and that changes the economics of lots of potential routes into Asia to make them not just physically possible but financially attractive.”
So far, Jetstar has hinted at routes such as Avalon to Bali, Melbourne to Nadi (Fiji) and Cairns to Auckland.
“We’ll take a decision closer to the time about which parts of the Group will use these aircraft, but there is plenty of potential across Qantas and Jetstar. We’ll also take a view on whether they are used to replace older aircraft or whether they are used for growth, which will depend on what’s happening in the market.”
As for the 787’s that will be replaced by the A321LRs, they may be deployed on a European bound route to compete with airlines such as Singapore’s Scoot.
What will the service be like onboard?
In a recent press release, Jetstar’s CEO Gareth Evans outlined what passengers might expect.
“Our new NEOs have been designed to offer maximum comfort for the lowest fares. Combining a smaller environmental footprint together with wider, ergonomic seats, greater stowage and in-flight streaming for personal devices, we think customers are going to love them.”
What might this include?
- Economy seats with tapered armrests to increase space. It is rumored that the seat pitch will be 28 inches which is tiny for an international flight lasting 5 or more hours. The cabin will be in a 3-3 configuration.
- Larger overhead bins with apparently 40% more space for those 7kg bags.
- Streaming via WIFI for personal devices, no seatback screens.
- However, there appears to be USB in-seat power.
- In-cabin overhead LED mood lighting.
There is currently no planned business class section onboard (unlike the business on their Boeing 787). The aircraft is expected to start flying beginning March 2020.
What do you think of the new Jetstar A321LR? Let us know in the comments.