The first of Jetstar’s new fleet of 38 A320 NEOs touched down in Melbourne on Sunday morning.
Australian Aviation’s Rob Finlayson was at the airport to take photos of the A321 LR – the long-range variant – as it arrive from Hamburg. It’s currently registered as VH-OFE.
Jetstar said it hoped the plane, which is 15 per cent more fuel efficient than its regular A320s, would begin servicing commercial routes in September.
“Our fleet of new NEOs will lift the bar on passenger comfort, and we’ve fine-tuned the cabin configuration to set a new standard of inflight experience for low fare travel in Australia,” said the airline’s chief executive, Gareth Evans.
“This means wider seats for customers, larger overhead lockers, in-seat USB charging and in-flight digital streaming technology, which is an Australian first for a low-fares airline.
“The A321LR burns significantly less fuel than previous generation aircraft, and advanced weather detection technology will enable our pilots to plot smoother and more fuel-efficient flight paths.
“That translates to a saving of one point two million kilograms of fuel annually – a reduction of almost 4,000 tonnes of emissions or the equivalent of removing 1,500 cars from the road each year.”
The ‘LR’ variant utilises extra fuel in three ‘Additional Centre Tanks’ to fly routes of up to 4,000 nm with 206 passengers, opening up new routes for the budget airline.
Jetstar will take delivery of a further eight A321LRs between August 2022 and May 2023, with all 18 aircraft expected to be delivered by mid-2024.
A further 20 A321XLR aircraft – an even longer-range variant – will arrive between 2024 and 2029.
It comes two months after parent company Qantas confirmed it had firmed up an order for 20 A321XLRs and 20 A220-300s, to gradually replace its current fleet of Boeing 737 and 717 aircraft.
The order also includes purchase options for up to 94 additional aircraft through to 2034, with the first arriving next year.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said, “The A320s and A220s will become the backbone of our domestic fleet for the next 20 years, helping to keep this country moving.
“Their range and economics will make new direct routes possible, including serving regional cities better.”
Qantas also rubber-stamped its order for 12 Airbus A350-1000 jets, in order to launch its long-awaited Project Sunrise non-stop flights, which connect Australia’s east coast cities to major global hubs, including London and New York.