Jetstar could add business class to its domestic Airbus A321neo fleet

By David Flynn, June 6 2018

Jetstar could begin offering business class within Australia in its forthcoming Airbus A321neo jets, in a move which would be at odds with the airline's low-cost mantra but also boosts its appeal to domestic business travellers on a budget.

18 of the long-range A321neo LR series will arrive in Jetstar stripe from mid-2020 to late 2022 and replace the airline's oldest A320s.

Their range will surpass that of the A320s, which had led Jetstar to considering some form of premium cabin instead of its traditional all-economy layout.

Speaking on the sidelines of the IATA aviation summit in Sydney, Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans said his team was "right in the middle of working through the configuration."

Domestic, international routes

"What we get from those planes is not only the inherent benefits of new technology but because of the distance they can fly, we're able to hit Bali and parts of south-east Asia from east-coast Australia."

"That will enable us to fly these planes in domestic Australia during the day, and then off international overnight so that they’re back in Australia for the start of the next day."

"So we’ve got to get the configuration right, because primarily these are going to be domestic aircraft but they are going to be flying internationally as well."

Given that Jetstar's international flights offer a small business class cabin while its domestic flights are economy from tip to tail, the airline is now examining which path to take with jets that will take wing in both markets.

Evans added that the A321neo jets would "enable us to free up three Boeing 787s for redeployment elsewhere in our network," although he said it was too early to make a call on which routes would see the silver Dreamliners.

"We'll (wait) until 2020, but there's certainly plenty of opportunity in Asia with the explosion of demand that is taking place."

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 130

I wonder if this will also extend to their A321neos as well for their Bali flights (for the cashed up folk wanting to travel with a "bit more leg room + meals" but not willing to pay $ for full service business on the domestic recliners of QF and VA)

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2345

The domestic and Bali-bound A321neos are the same jets (as indicated in the article)

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 93

If Jetstar adds business class trans Tasman on routes such as Christchurch and Queenstown I'll be aboard, assuming the price is right. VA and QF charge far too much for "business" that is effectively just premium economy, and NZ does not have business on these routes in any form.
Except of course for 777's and 787's every day
THR
THR

20 Sep 2012

Total posts 60

Not direct flights though.

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 93

777 and 787 in ZQN, I'd pay to see that...

CHC has no regular NZ J trans-Tasman.

ZQN has no NZ J full stop.

Just to be clear.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Jun 2018

Total posts 3

I guess if you pay the full price on Jetstar business domestic, I still can earn QFF status and points?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 342

Looking at the star class fare, it will come in an optional bundle that comes with lounge access as well. But usually the cost is not worth it. OOL-NRT charges $200 extra for lounge, ~6000 points and 120sc earn.
Good luck actually getting those points credited to your account. Be prepared for a long and frustrating fight.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 295

I would be quite surprised if this eventuated. It will just add a layer of complexity and cost to domestic operations. Part of the LCC model is to avoid those costs through simplicity. It will also make it a lot harder to swap out planes when there is an issue and has the possibility to cannibalize some of the Qantas business class.

Jetstar has a lot of freedom currently where they can throw pretty much any plane at any route domestically and have a consistent product. Having a small subfleet would make this a lot harder from a fleet planning and scheduling point of view.

Jetstar already flies internationally without business on their A320 and would think the simplest solution would be to extend that to these incoming A321NEO. Even if they have to lose that on the Bali Route.

Another option could be to run 1x 787 and 1x A321 per day to ensure they still have a business option. Looking at Melbourne, they already fly twice daily.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

Jetstar already have a small subfleet of A321s, which only run on certain routes. They carry a substantially larger passenger load than the regular A320s (with the newer and refurbished frames having a whopping fifty more seats than the A320), so they are not quite as easily and immediately interchangeable as their all-Economy configuration would suggest.

I am inclined to suspect that the capacity and productivity gains from being able to move Bali and possibly Saigon to two-class A321LRs (and thus being able to move B787 frames to increase frequencies to Thailand and Japan (and possibly other Asian destinations)) would more than offset the productivity losses from operating a sub-fleet.
DGP
DGP

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jan 2012

Total posts 171

Can we all agree that Jetstar should not call their so called Business Class just that? It should be called Premium Economy because that is all it is compared to any other airline.

QF

21 May 2014

Total posts 24

You haven't seen intra-Europe "Business" class have you?
DGP
DGP

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jan 2012

Total posts 171

I certainly have...but I am mainly referring to the Jetstar Longhaul/Boeing 788 product.

28 Dec 2016

Total posts 70

Qantas doesnt call their 737 business class “premium economy”

04 May 2018

Total posts 24

Then they should as the 738 business class doesn't resemble the same experience compared to the rest of the QF fleet.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

JQ in the past has operated the 787's on domestic flights...

A short Brisbane to Syndey or Sydney to Melbourne was priced at $400 and whilst it's cheaper than VA/QF I didn't see many people taking it up.

Personally, I think it'd be a mistake for JQ to offer a product that on some routes would see low/no take up and then have to offer it as Op Ups when economy is frequently full.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1138

Besides Bali, what other parts of south-east Asia does JQ serve from east-coast Australia?
DGP
DGP

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jan 2012

Total posts 171

Bangkok, Phuket, Tokyo, Osaka, Ho Chi Minh City to name a few.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

Out of all of JQ's existing ASEAN routes, only Bali and Saigon are within realistic range for the A321LR from the East Coast. However, there may be potential for new ASEAN destinations to be added with the A321LR.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1138

Wow, did not know that the A321LR had the legs to do SYD-SGN.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 952

The 321LR is meant to have a 7,400km range.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

This is, of course, based on theoretical still-air range, which may not work out in the real world with winds and weather, because at 3,690nm great circle distance, SYD-SGN is right at the limit of what is expected to be possible for the A321LR.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 952

JQ used to do DRW-NRT via MNL on A320s.
QF tried to rebook me onto that when weather in SYD caused delays which would have meant a missed connection from CBR for SYD-NRT.
They wanted to get me to MEL, then JQ MEL-DRW-xMNL-NRT.
Ended up getting rebooked on CX via MEL and HKG to NRT.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Dec 2017

Total posts 44

If the QF group were smart about it, A321LRs could get the lions share of international flying for JQ, through stops at CNS and DRW (which JQ already do) many of the Asian destinations serviced by the 788 could easily go to the 321.

The freed up 788s could theoretically then be repainted for deployment with QF (just like the A330s a little while back) to further expand international routing there!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1384

I think JQ looked at hubbing at DRW previously, but 1. DRW airport wouldn't play ball, and 2. Pax prefer direct flights
AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 521

The 788’s when ordered were meant to come back to Qantas domestic.

Also do remember that the initial JQ A330’s were in Qantas colours first. So they really just came ‘home’

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 139

They could do Domestic legs such as Syd/Mel/Bri to Perth, be back east to make the trek to Bali or across to NZ. If they had enough jets could make those 3 hr plus flights with a unique offering

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Jan 2015

Total posts 29

I think this is a great idea - there are a lot of "cashed up middle aged flyers" that would happily pay a premium to sit up the front of a Jetstar flight knowing it's not a real Business Class but just appreciating the extra room and not wanting to sit down the back - especially on routes where there is no Qantas alternative or an actual Qantas Business Class Fare being such a rip off on a 737.

I reckon the new A321neoLR will be an amazingly flexible aircraft for any airline that orders it - Qantas are missing a golden opportunity not flying it in QF colours - the Boeing 797 is a very very long way off - if at all !

I wonder if Cairns to Narita and Osaka will be swapped to the A321neo LR as they are both very much within range. Who knows we might see a few more Japan routes from Cairns.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

The A321LR gives Jetstar the ability to take the CNS-NRT and CNS-KIX up to daily (and even a little beyond) while maintaining capacity discipline, so I would be inclined to suspect that that will happen first, although the possibilities offered by this most promising aeroplane do appear to be really rather good.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 130

Also frees up the 788s currently used on the CNS-Japan for other JQ routes (or the very slim chance of the 788s being transferred to QF for mainline).

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

Wonder if Perth will fall under their classification of 'international,' seeing as many JQ flights from Perth are overnight. It would be certainly be welcome on the trans-con treks.

20 Apr 2014

Total posts 94

Yep these babies are going to Japan to fix the yields and allow daily services

788 start going back to QF earlier if fuel prices keep rising to get rid of the 744s ealdier perhaps. Widebodies have been a money hole for JQ.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 391

Yohy, pray explain the 'money hole' comment.

Isn't JQ overall pretty profitable and load factors high on most routes. I realise 'yield' is the important consideration.


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