The Airbus A320-200 is the workhorse of the Jetstar fleet. The aircraft type may not be glamorous, but the A320 is reliable, flexible, and efficient. It’s a perfect plane for a low-cost airline like Jetstar. On Wednesday, Jetstar’s boss explained why he is such a fan of the Airbus A320 and remains enthusiastic about the latest generation of aircraft on order from Airbus.
Jetstar likes the versatility of the Airbus A320
Speaking at a CAPA Live event on Wednesday, Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans spoke highly about the Airbus A320-200 and explained why he was looking forward to getting his hands on some neos.
As the Qantas Group, which owns and operates Jetstar as a low-cost airline brand, adjusts capacity and services to meet constantly shifting demand, Mr Evans says the A320 is demonstrating its versatility.
“The A320s right now, within the Qantas Group, are probably the most flexible vehicle that we’ve got.
“Jetstar uses them as a domestic and short-haul international vehicle. But we have been moving A320s into Network Aviation, Western Australia, for use in the mining and charter flying space, freeing up 737s back into Qantas.”
Jetstar’s CEO says A320s give the airline “flexibility”
The Airbus A320-200 is Jetstar’s signature aircraft type. Across the various Jetstar brands, including Jetstar Japan and Jetstar Asia, the low-cost carrier flies 86 of the aircraft according to airline database Planespotters.net. In addition, Jetstar operates eight A321-200 aircraft around Australia and New Zealand and had one based in Japan.
Jetstar also has a fleet of Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners they usually use for international flights to Asia and Hawaii. But with Jetstar’s international services on ice until the end of October, those Dreamliners are in storage.
With demand around Asia still in the doldrums, Gareth Evans is pulling some A320-200s out of both Jetstar Japan and Jetstar Asia to redeploy them in Australia.
Five planes from Jetstar Asia have already arrived, and Mr Evans is eyeing bringing six A320s down from Jetstar Japan. The Jetstar CEO says the A320s could be in Australia for two or perhaps three years.
“We can either retain them for growth, we can move them into the west, we can return leases, we can use them for freighters. There’s lots and lots of flexibility from that perspective.”
It’s the flexibility and the options the nimble A320-200 gives the Qantas Group the Jetstar boss appreciates. Gareth Evans also sees the extra A320-200s flying around Australia as “a bridge” to taking new Airbus neo aircraft.
A320neo & A321neo planes delayed, but Jetstar remains keen
The Qantas Group has a big order at Airbus for planes from the A320 aircraft family. According to Airbus data released on February 28, 45 A320neos and 64 A321neos (a combination of A321LR and XLR aircraft) are coming to the airline.
When that order was last updated in 2019, the Qantas Group expected the first 18 Airbus A321LR neo aircraft to start arriving in mid-2020. But last year, amid the travel downturn and a cash crunch, Qantas deferred its deliveries. Yesterday, Mr Evans confirmed deliveries are now set to start in 2022-23.
“We’re really looking forward to getting them,” said the Jetstar CEO. “They can do a lot for us.”
Gareth Evans is looking at deploying the planes on short-haul international routes to Bali and New Zealand. And the A321XLR neos will open up a whole new world of opportunities for Jetstar.
“And then you’ve got the XLRs,” he said, noting they have the range to fly between Japan and cities in Australia’s north. “Those aircraft are great for us. Not just because of the cost base, but there can also be flexibility between international and domestic. That is a very valuable fleet unit.”
How do you think Jetstar will use their new A320 and A321 neos? Are they the right aircraft for the airline? Post a comment and let us know.