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Jetstar to use A321neo LR to fly new Sydney–Rarotonga service

written by Adam Thorn | December 1, 2022

Rob Finlayson shot the first Jetstar A320neo LR to touch down in Australia, in Melbourne, in July 2022

Jetstar will use its new long-range A321neo LRs to begin a route between Sydney and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

The twice-weekly service will launch on 29 June next year, with the aircraft carrying up to 50,000 customers between the two destinations annually.

New Jetstar CEO Stephanie Tully said the launch of the service would coincide with the start of the winter school holidays.

“Rarotonga is a stunning tropical island, and we’re excited to introduce our great low fares on this new route ahead of next year’s winter school holidays, offering Australians an opportunity to escape the cold and explore one of the most beautiful destinations in the South Pacific,” said Tully.

“We are thrilled to be operating our new Airbus A321neo LR on the route. The aircraft burns up to 20 per cent less fuel and flies longer distances, meaning we can offer more low fares to more destinations, helping people travel for less.


“The direct Sydney to Rarotonga will be our second route to the popular island, and we thank the Cook Islands Government for their ongoing support.”

The first of Jetstar’s Airbus A321neo LRs touched down in Melbourne in July.

The ‘LR’ variant utilises extra fuel in three ‘Additional Centre Tanks’ to fly routes of up to 4,000 nm with 206 passengers, opening up new routes for the budget airline.

Jetstar will take delivery of a further eight A321LRs between August 2022 and May 2023, with all 18 aircraft expected to be delivered by mid-2024.

A further 20 A321XLR aircraft — an even longer-range variant — will arrive between 2024 and 2029.

Parent company Qantas has also firmed up an order for 20 A321XLRs and 20 A220-300s, to gradually replace its current fleet of Boeing 737 and 717 aircraft.

The order also includes purchase options for up to 94 additional aircraft through to 2034, with the first arriving next year.

The announcement of the Cook Island service also marked the first public comments by new Jetstar CEO Stephanie Tully.

It came after Qantas announced in September that Gareth Evans would step down as Jetstar CEO to be replaced by the Flying Kangaroo’s then-chief customer officer. Previously, the business said a “formal handover” would take place in November, though no date was given.

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Comments (2)

  • Des


    Where’s Air NZ? Would Rather fly them then JQ.

  • Rod Pickin


    5 plus hours out and maybe 7 hours back in 28 or 29 ins seat pitch, I don’t think so.

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