From the Boeing 717 that took off as JQ371 from Newcastle bound for Melbourne 10 years ago, Jetstar’s distinctive bright orange star has become a fixture over Australian skies.
Jetstar celebrated its 10th anniversary on Sunday with a party at its maintenance hangar in Melbourne, where some of the crew on that first flight on May 25 2004 mingled with staff including the airline’s chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka and Qantas group chief executive Alan Joyce, who was Jetstar’s first CEO.
That initial route has now expanded to include operations not only around Australia but also New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam and Japan, with the proposed Jetstar Hong Kong awaiting regulatory approval.
The airline, headquartered in Melbourne, now flies to 65 destinations in 18 countries with a fleet of 116 aircraft – 99 Airbus A320s, six A321s, seven A330s and four Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary, Jetstar A320 VH-VGF has been repainted with a special bright orange livery that reverses Jetstar’s original design. It features a white star on the tail, while on the fuselage are the titles “Low fares forever” on the right side and “#jetstargeneration” on the left.
In 2004, Jetstar had about 700 staff and flew 315,000 people to 14 destinations around Australia.
As the airline group enters its second decade, its 7,000-strong workforce is on track to fly 27 million passengers this year, bringing the total passengers carried to more than 140 million.
“Of the 700 team members who started with us on the first day of operations, I am delighted that more than half are still with us, 10 years on,” Hrdlicka said on Sunday.
“Jetstar is a true Australian success story… It has been an amazing journey – and we believe the best is yet to come.”