Jetstar’s Rapid Route Expansion

Low-cost carrier Jetstar is busy expanding its Australian network, adding new cities and new routes over recent months. This comes as the airline targets flying 100% of its 2019 capacity amid ongoing border closures and continuing travel restrictions.

Jetstar is moving into new territory as it expands its Australian network. Photo: Jetstar

New airports, new cities, and new routes for Jetstar

In recent months, Jetstar has begun or announced flights between Sydney (SYD) and Hervey Bay (HVB), Newcastle Williamtown (NTL) and Cairns (CNS), Brisbane (BNE) and Canberra (CBR), Melbourne (MEL) and Busselton (BQB), and Brisbane and Perth (PER). The routes will see Jetstar land at new airports for the first time, directly link airports for the first time, and take on competing airlines on other routes.

In May, Jetstar started flying three times a week between Sydney and Hervey Bay using one of their Airbus A320 aircraft. It’s actually a return to the route for Jetstar, after 11 years missing from the Hervey Bay. Virgin Australia formerly flew the route, one of the few Australian domestic airline routes Virgin Australia enjoyed sole operator status on. But Virgin Australia withdrew its flights in 2020. Now Jetstar steps into the vacuum.

Before the travel crunch in March 2020, Jetstar had announced new flights between Melbourne and Busselton. Inevitably, those flights got postponed indefinitely. Now, pending border restrictions unwinding, Jetstar is starting flights from mid-July. Busselton is bang in the middle of the Margaret River region. Jetstar will be the sole operator into the airport. Busselton is Jetstar’s second destination in Western Australia.

Perth is Jetstar’s other Western Australia airport. Jetstar already flies there from multiple east coast airports. In November, the airline adds Brisbane to the mix, flying five return services a week between the two cities. Jetstar will compete with parent airline Qantas and rival Virgin Australia on this sector.

Jetstar uses Airbus A320-200s on its Australian domestic services. Photo: Jetstar

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Interesting new Jetstar route for Brisbane

Brisbane is also seeing another interesting new Jetstar route. In September, Jetstar will start five return flights a week between Brisbane and Canberra. The flights mark Jetstar’s debut in Australia’s national capital. Canberra is a notoriously expensive city to fly into, and Jetstar will bring a welcome low-cost airline option to the city – on one route at least. Virgin Australia’s low-cost subsidiary Tigerair Australia formerly flew this route. But Tigerair Australia stopped flying early last year and was quietly euthanized later that year.

Elsewhere on the east coast, Jetstar has begun flying between Newcastle Williamtown and Cairns. Both airports are sizeable Jetstar ports, but there has never been a direct link between the two airports. Located two and a half hours drive up the M1 from Sydney, Newcastle has a sizeable local population catchment of its own and frequently escapes many of the travel restrictions imposed on Sydney residents. This clever route gets many regional New South Wales residents straight up to North Queensland without traveling through Sydney.

Route wise, Jetstar is Australia’s most adventurous airline. Photo: Jetstar

With its low operating costs and regional airport friendly fleet of Airbus A320-200s, Jetstar is Australia’s most adventurous airline when it comes to new routes. Low-cost airlines aren’t for everyone, but experienced Jetstar flyers know there are a few tricks to sprucing up your flight experience. As Jetstar keeps pushing towards 2019 capacity and snatching market share from rivals Virgin Australia and Rex, Australian flyers can expect to see more new routes and more opportunities to fly the low-cost airline.