Jetstar Bets On Brisbane As It Launches Direct Flights To Perth

Jetstar is launching flights between Brisbane and Perth later this year. The cross country Airbus A320 service will commence in November. The new service is Jetstar’s second significant recent route announcement involving Brisbane and the airline’s seventh new route in the last year.

Jetstar is commencing A320 flights between Brisbane & Perth in November. Photo: Getty Images

Commencing November 2, JQ969 will push back from Brisbane (BNE) at 18:55 local time on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. The flight will touch down in Perth (PER) at 22:20 local time.

The return flight, JQ968, will operate across the same five days. The flight will depart Perth at 23:00 local time, arriving into BNE at 05:20 the next morning.

Jetstar’s flights between Brisbane and Perth will use an Airbus A320 that feature an all-economy class cabin and a 3-3 configuration.

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Perth flights follow new Jetstar BNE-CBR route

Today’s announcement follows Jetstar’s decision to begin flights between Brisbane and Canberra (CBR). That route announcement was significant because it represents Jetstar’s first foray into CBR and potentially takes market share from parent airline Qantas who dominate the route.

Likewise, Jetstar’s decision to fly between Brisbane and Perth puts a little competitive tension onto the route. Qantas and Virgin Australia already fly the 2,241 mile (3,607 kilometer) sector. Qantas runs up to five flights a day in both directions, mostly deployed Boeing 737-800s but from Wednesday, also putting a swanky 787-9 Dreamliners onto the run. The big Qantas Boeing will operate once a day in each direction.

Depending on what day of the week it is, a slimmed-down Virgin Australia operates between two and three flights a day in each direction using Boeing 737-800s.

A Jetstar Airbus A320 in Brisbane. Photo: Brisbane Airport Corporation

Brisbane-Perth route never a natural fit for Jetstar

Still recovering from the slump in travel demand, just 12,800 passengers jetted between BNE and PER (or vice versa) in April. In April 2019, 80,800 passengers made the five hours plus flight. The route has been battered by border closures at both ends and a decline in business travel.

The business travel demographic made up a large portion of travelers on this route, commuting between Australia’s big two resource capital cities. The sizeable business travel market attracted big fares. Traditionally, flights between Brisbane and Perth were some of the most expensive in Australia – especially if flying up the front.

To date, Jetstar has left this route to Qantas and Virgin Australia. Instead, Jetstar ran a daily flight to Perth from the Gold Coast Airport (OOL), just south of Brisbane. Leisure traffic-focused OOL has long proved a good fit for Jetstar. Parent Qantas also handily largely ignored the Gold Coast in favor of Brisbane. It’s an arrangement that worked out well for both airlines.

Brisbane Airport is seeing more Jetstar flights. Photo: Brisbane Airport Corporation

Competitive courtesies changing in 2021

But the competitive courtesies between Qantas and its low-cost subsidiary have eroded a little in 2021 as both airlines tout for business in Australia’s recovering but ultimately limited domestic flying market.

Qantas has launched onto many new domestic routes in the last 12 months, including many Jetstar had enjoyed a monopoly on. In September, Qantas is beginning thrice-weekly flights between Perth and the Gold Coast. The full-service parent airline is also starting new flights on other Jetstar routes, including Adelaide (ADL) – Hobart (HBA), Sydney (SYD) – Uluru (AYQ), and Melbourne (MEL) – Townsville (TSV).

With Virgin Australia now operating a much scaled back network and its low-cost subsidiary Tigerair Australia now defunct, Jetstar was in a pole position to reap the benefits on many of these skinnier, leisure orientated routes.

Its parent, Qantas, has crashed the party somewhat. But it isn’t all going Qantas’ way. Its subsidiary airline continues to find new routes to fly, sometimes stepping in the Virgin Australia/Tigerair vacuum. In addition to stepping up its presence in Brisbane, Jetstar has launched several interesting new routes in the last year, including sole operator flights between Melbourne – Margaret River (BQB), Sydney – Hervey Bay (HVB), and Gold Coast – Hobart.

Jetstar’s low-cost services between BNE-PER offer a good alternative for price-conscious passengers and brings a little competitive interest onto the route. What would really step it up is Jetstar putting one of their own Boeing 787-8s onto the route. Battle of the Dreamliners – that would be something to watch.