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."