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Jetstar looks to hire 140 new pilots by year’s end

written by Jake Nelson | July 24, 2023

Victor Pody shot this Jetstar A321neo, VH-OFE.

Jetstar is set to hire more than 140 new pilots this year in a major recruitment drive.

The low-cost carrier is undergoing what it says is one of its biggest-ever pilot intakes, which will support new routes including Sydney to Rarotonga, Brisbane to Seoul and Melbourne to Fiji, as well as its push to improve reliability.

It is part of Qantas Group’s plan to bring in 8500 new operational roles over the next 10 years, and comes amid an ongoing talent shortage in the industry.

“As we approach 20 years of Jetstar, it’s an exciting time to be joining our airline and the industry, and it’s fantastic to see so many new team members coming on board this year,” said Jetstar’s Chief Pilot & Head of Flight Operations, Captain Jeremy Schmidt.

“With our ninth state-of-the art A321neo LR about to arrive and nine more of the aircraft expected before the end of 2024, we need more pilots to support our growing fleet and network.


“The new NEOs have allowed us to increase the number of services we put on existing routes including between Brisbane, Adelaide and Bali and also allows us to redeploy our Boeing 787 fleet onto exciting new routes like Brisbane to Seoul.”

The pilot recruitment drive accompanies a larger hiring blitz for Jetstar cabin crew, with the airline looking to employ up to an additional 700 cabin staff by year’s end.

Jetstar in May announced overhauls to check-in, bag drop and boarding deadlines in an effort to improve its on-time performance. Chief Operating Officer Matt Franzi acknowledged the airline’s performance “hasn’t been up to scratch” and said Jetstar is hard at work improving punctuality and reliability while keeping airfares as low as possible.

“To improve our performance, we’re recruiting more airport staff, cabin crew and engineering team members and making changes to our check-in, bag drop and boarding times, to bring them in line with other low-cost carriers around the world,” he said.

“Everyone across the airline is committed to getting Jetstar to its best while delivering the lowest possible fares so our customers can fly to more places, more often.”

According to CEO Stephanie Tully, the airline’s own data late last month showed that its cancellation rate was “around two per cent” for the first three weeks of June, with OTP at over 70 per cent. Official BITRE data has since revealed Jetstar had an OTP of 66.2 per cent for June, with a 3.7 per cent cancellation rate.

“We know we’ve got more work to do but it’s really pleasing to see some of the initiatives we’ve introduced are starting to deliver results,” said Tully.

“Everyone across Jetstar is committed to getting the airline to its best and ensuring customers have a great travel experience with us over the holidays.”

This is a turnaround from April, when BITRE data showed Jetstar to be “considerably worse” for cancellations than other airlines, according to the ACCC, with an 8.1 per cent cancellation rate in April 2023 compared to an industry average of 3.9 per cent. Only 59.7 per cent of Jetstar flights arrived on time and 57.1 per cent departed on time that month.

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