Jetstar A320s gain six more seats

A supplied image of the Recaro seats to be installed on Jetstar Australia and New Zealand's Airbus A320s. (Jetstar)
Recaro seats will be installed on Jetstar Australia and New Zealand’s Airbus A320s. (Jetstar)

Jetstar is boosting the capacity on its Australia and New Zealand based Airbus A320 narrowbodies through the installation of slimline seats, reducing galley space and moving the lavatories.

The Qantas-owned low-cost carrier (LCC) will reconfigure 43 A320s – which operate domestically within Australia and New Zealand, across the Tasman and on short-haul international routes – with new Recaro seats and the Zodiac Aerospace Space Flex version two lavatory and galley module, which allows the removal of the existing rear lavatories.

That will allow an increase in the number of seats to 186, up from 180 currently, which is equivalent to a capacity increase of one and a half A320s but without the capital costs of acquiring additional aircraft, Jetstar group chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka told the Qantas investor day on Friday.

A file image of the Space Flex version 2 module. (Airbus/Zodiac Aerospace)
The Space Flex version 2 module for the A320’s rear galley and lavatories. (When not in use the crew seat pivots out of the way to allow access to the second lavatory. (Airbus/Zodiac Aerospace)

The cabin reconfiguration work will also increase overhead locker space in the rear of the aircraft, plus feature LED cabin lighting, new carpets and a new colour scheme.

Jetstar Australia and New Zealand chief executive Dean Salter said passengers will have the same amount of legroom and space despite the addition of another row of seats on the aircraft, with no change to average seat pitch or seat width.

“This is the latest cabin design from Airbus, which is smarter about the way space is used on the aircraft and allows for an extra row of seats and more baggage space,” Salter said in a statement on Friday.

“The additional six seats improve the economics of these aircraft and help us to keep offering the low fares we are known for and maintain a great customer experience. These aircraft will allow us to carry more customers, particularly at peak times, to holiday destinations.”

A supplied image of the Recaro seats to be installed on Jetstar Australia and New Zealand's Airbus A320s. (Jetstar)
Jetstar says there will be no reduction in seat pitch with the addition of the extra row of seats. (Jetstar)
A supplied image of the Recaro seats to be installed on Jetstar Australia and New Zealand's Airbus A320s. (Jetstar)
The Recaro seats are expected to be installed across 43 aircraft by the end of 2018. (Jetstar)

A Jetstar spokesperson said Qantas’s Brisbane engineering workshop won a tender to complete part of the cabin reconfiguration work. A second tender covering the remainder of the fleet was yet to conclude.

The first reconfigured aircraft is expected to be flying by August, with the remainder to be completed by the end of 2018.

The change will give Jetstar’s A320s a six-seat advantage over Australian LCC rival Tigerair Australia, whose A320s and Boeing 737-800s are configured with 180 seats.

While Jetstar has 53 A320s in its Australia and New Zealand fleet, only 43 aircraft will be reconfigured as 10 aircraft are due to leave the fleet and be replaced by newer narrowbodies such as the A320neo (new engine option), which will arrive in the new configuration, the Jetstar spokesperson told Australian Aviation.

Jetstar also has eight A321s in its Australia and New Zealand narrowbody fleet. Of those, two recently leased A321s arrived with Airbus’s Smart Lav design that features 220 seats. Further, four other A321s are slated to be reconfigured with 220 seats, compared with 210 seats on non-reconfigured aircraft.

In February, Qantas announced a nine-month delay to the first delivery of the 99 Airbus A320neo Family aircraft the airline group has on order, comprising 54 A320neo and 45 of the larger A321neo.

The new delivery timeline pushed the capital expenditure for these new aircraft into the 2018/19 financial year rather than 2017/18.

Offshore affiliates Jetstar Japan, Vietnam-based Jetstar Pacific and Singapore carrier Jetstar Asia are not part of the reconfiguration program.

Other airlines to have fitted the Zodiac Aerospace Space Flex version two include Easyjet, JetBlue and Lufthansa.

A file image of the Space Flex version two module lavatories. (Airbus/Zodiac Aerospace)
The Space Flex version two module lavatories. (Airbus/Zodiac Aerospace)

Comments

  1. Raymond says

    Before anyone feels the need to comment negatively instead of properly reading the article, please note:

    Jetstar Australia and New Zealand chief executive Dean Salter said passengers will have the same amount of legroom and space despite the addition of another row of seats on the aircraft, with no change to average seat pitch or seat width.

  2. Marc says

    The entire lower house chamber of federal parliament could fit on one plane. Imagine how much quicker things would get done.

  3. Deepspa says

    Surely nothing can be more uncomfortable than existing Jetstar seats. Its not just about seat pitch. Moving the magazine pocket to the headrest may give the illusion of an added cm or two but provides no protection when a restless child or inconsiderate adult behind starts kicking. or kneeing in the kidneys or banging the tray table on your spine.. Try that on a 4.5 + hour graveyard flight from Darwin or Perth. Perhaps these seats will address that issue.

  4. AM says

    To correct the statement regarding A321 seating, the two newest have 230 seat (VH-VWQ and VH-VQN. The others in the fleet remain at 220 seats at this stage.

  5. Steve says

    It’s not just about the pitch!

    Look how terribly thin those seats are! Slimline on a new level!

    Looks very uncomfortable

  6. Grumpy says

    Nicely written article. Of course there is no reduction in seat pitch and pax comfort – its already at a knee killing 29* which is being maintained!

  7. David says

    Jetstar’ main customers tend to be those looking for the cheapest way to get from A to B. Comfort isn’t one of there priorities. They don’t travel by air all that often. We need to keep this all in our mind and perspective.

  8. Chris says

    Agree with Deepspa here. Try Jetstar’s graveyard flight from Darwin to Melbourne. Four hours of screaming kids, 13 bucks for a sandwich and a can of drink, and a free kidney massage from the person in the seat behind. Of course there is no reductioon in seat pitch, width or legroom…people wouldnt fit if it was reduced any further!

  9. OD says

    Nothing can feel better than current Jetstar leather seat which is even better than Qantas 737/800 seat. These new seat look very stiff and uncomfortable especially the seat coushion look very firm……very disappointing

  10. says

    My response to Chris. You have chosen to travel with a low cost carrier. $13 for a sandwich and a drink is a typical price at many venues on the ground. Easy solution bring your own sandwich and drink, it will make your chosen low cost ticket even cheaper. Sceaming kids scream on full service airlines also. This is a reflection and responsibilty of parenting, not an airline. It is unreasonable not to expect differences within the aircraft and service offered when you purchase a ticket with a low cost carrier.

  11. Gary Browne says

    As someone who works as crew on easyJet in the UK with this new design – I can confirm its no different for the passengers – but a HUGE difference for the crew. In fact what has been termed a complete disaster! As mentioned in the article, the (already small) galley size has been reduced… Crew can barely stand up in there.. The fold down seat on the door had to be taken out of service at first as the door wasn’t strong enough contain the weight of the seat and started to come away from the hinge.- but imagine the safety of this seat in an impact. Crew member sat there doesn’t stand a chance…. Canisters and trollies? Now 3 canisters deep and a double and single trolley deep. Impossible to reach the third canister with your arm… and imagine you want to sell something thats in that 3 rd canister? Have to pull out two others to get to it? And where you going to put them whilst doing so? … the list goes on…. Those EZY aircraft are an accident waiting to happen… I feel for the Jetstar crews who are about to experience this 🙁

  12. Ben says

    I agree that people shouldn’t complain regarding being squeezed in on a LCC. You do get what you pay for and the fact that you’re able to be transported hundreds or thousands of km at more than three quarters of the speed of sound for such a small cost is a minor miracle. If you want comfort, fork out for Business Class on QF or VA.

    Having said that however, I often wonder if or when the minimum standards of space, seat width, pitch, galley or lavatory sizes will be squeezed so it actually becomes a health issue. Not being able to move for hours on end due to such a tight fit is a potential health hazard, not to mention the OH&S issues for the Flight Attendants as @Gary Browne has explained above.

    I suppose the defence from the airline is the passengers are notified to do inflight exercises in the inflight magazine etc. Although it may be a bit difficult to move your feet and knees etc if they’re jammed up against the seat in front.

    As for the problems with the crew regarding smaller galleys etc. It probably comes down to a cost/risk analysis: The cost saving of squeezing everything in vs the risk of an OH&S hazard or the impracticalities of working in such a confined space.

  13. Tim Canning says

    Jetstar = Greyhound Bus with wings.

    I was voted the worst airline in the world recently.

    NO WAY !

  14. Jeff says

    I still remember when TAA had 145 seats in a B727-200,we thought that was a lot in the 80,s.

  15. Greg says

    Perhaps someone can explain what has actually changed. If “average seat pitch” remains the same, there is no space for an extra row, other then changes at the rear of the aircraft. The difference between pitch and legroom is often missed. If you make the seats thinner, leave the pitch the same, you get more legroom.

  16. franz chong says

    The world’s sure changed since the three class days on the TAA/Australian 727’s and 737’s.Be thankful for Jetstar even if these planes do carry a lot of people for their size even if one has to pay for their meal.
    If anything Anything’s better than the nightmares that were overnight buses and trains we used to travel on in the 80’s to keep costs down and don’t forget it’s taken most people who used to drive interstate to the air for the first time thereby keeping the road toll down.It’s cheaper these days to fly JQ OR VA to your destination and when you get there use local transport and day tours to get around for the most part now.

  17. Scott says

    Its a budget airline but people still want ‘ champers’ and first class service for their $89 +tax…. On some flights its no cheaper than a full fare equivalent with QF (but it depends on a number of variables)..

    Some things are more important than a few bucks, but if you know you’re flying budget, why complain..?

  18. Alex says

    @Greg,

    Moving the lavatories into the Galley means that there is space for an additional row there. The space it frees up actually allows JQ to put in extra legroom seats which would be sold for row 2.

    Also for those people complaining about kicking children, those seats are pretty much the same as the ones found on newer JQ aircraft (sharklets).

    If anything, its a net gain for pax as 6 more people will get additional legroom (at extra cost or by check in assignment).

  19. Speak says

    Greg – the lavatories currently positioned in front of the rear doors are now positioned at the very rear of the aircraft behind the doors, which creates room for an extra row of seats. Both the new lavs and the galley are set further back into the tail of the aircraft, utilizing previously dead space.

  20. Grumpy Old Fart says

    And airlines wonder why passengers get agro and even violent when they cram more and more people into a confined space.

  21. james says

    there seems to be major misunderstanding about seat pitch & legroom. You can actually decrease seat pitch, while at same time increasing legroom. How ? Slimline seats. That’s not playing with toilet footprint.

  22. Oliver says

    I wonder how they will compare to the current sharklet fleet that does the Perth to Bali trips.

  23. Philip says

    Jetstar seats are the most uncomfortable on long flight like ADL=DWN.
    There only consideration with new seats would be extra capacity not pax comfort.
    It is one of many contributing factors in Jetstar getting a less than favourable rating