Domestic demand boosts Jetstar

The LCC expects domestic capacity in Australia to top 2019 levels by the end of March next year.

Qantas subsidiary Jetstar is planning to increase domestic flying during the first quarter of 2021 amid strong travel demand in Australia and the reopening of state borders.

The increased schedule will see the LCC operating more than 850 return flights per week to 55 domestic destinations by the end of the first quarter of the calendar year. These extra services will be on board Airbus A320s that would normally operate to international destinations like Bali and Singapore.

Jetstar said the boost in flying represents more than 110% of its pre-COVID domestic schedule—compared with March 2019. According to the latest OAG Schedules Analyser data, the airline intends to offer about 1.3 million domestic seats in March 2021, up from 1.21 million during the same month two years earlier.

The planned growth comes days after parent Qantas said group domestic capacity would rise to 68% of pre-COVID-19 levels in December 2020, growing to almost 80% for the three months through March 31, 2021.

“While international borders remain closed, more Australians are set to explore places around the country they have never visited, which is great news for local hospitality and tourism operators,” Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans said.

“We have a lot of repair work to do given the huge toll the COVID crisis took on airlines. But the flexibility we have across our fleet means we can offer these extra services, help boost tourism, and the local economies of the communities we fly to and also get more of our people back in the air,” he said.

OAG data shows that routes set to return over the coming weeks include Adelaide (ADL)-Avalon (AVV), Busselton Margaret River (BQB)-Melbourne (MEL) and Gold Coast (OOL)-AVV.

Weekly frequencies are also being added to routes including ADL-MEL, Brisbane (BNE)-MEL and OOL-Sydney (SYD).

The latest schedules data shows that there will be about 13.3 million available seats in Australia’s domestic market during the first quarter of 2021, down by 31% compared with the 19.3 million offered in 2019.

However, international capacity will remain low at about 2.2 million departure seats during Q1 2021. This represents a reduction of 69% compared with the first three months of 2019.

Photo credit: Jetstar

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