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Jetstar celebrates 2 decades in the sky with special flight

written by Jake Nelson | May 27, 2024

Jetstar CEO Stephanie Tully (centre) with the crew of the airline’s 20th anniversary flight from Newcastle to Melbourne. (Image: Jetstar)

Jetstar has marked 20 years since its inaugural service from Newcastle to Melbourne with a special anniversary flight.

The regular JQ471 service on Saturday, 25 May, operated by the A320-200 VH-VFQ, had several of the pilots, cabin crew and customers on board from the maiden flight on the same day in 2004, with the crew also wearing Jetstar’s new uniform designed to mark the carrier’s 20th anniversary.

“I’ve flown on thousands of Jetstar flights over 20 years, and while every flight is important, today’s service is particularly special for the team,” said Jetstar captain Jeff Bray, who operated Jetstar’s inaugural flight and was aboard on Saturday.

“It’s a moment to reunite with other long serving colleagues who I started out with on 25 May 2004 and some of the same customers who were on board two decades ago.

“We’ve always carried first time flyers and that’s what makes Jetstar unique, we’re providing low fares so more people can afford to fly.”


Jetstar CEO Stephanie Tully said the airline has “transformed the way Australians travel” over the past two decades and put downward pressure on airfares.

“Before we launched 20 years ago, many families’ only option was packing up the car and hitting the road. Our low fares meant they could afford to instead jump on a plane and head off to the Gold Coast, Bali or elsewhere for their family holiday,” she said.

“While it’s our birthday, today is about celebrating the 400 million customers who’ve chosen to fly with us across Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific over the past two decades.

“As we welcome new aircraft into our fleet and add more destinations to our network, we’re excited about the next 20 years and a new era of low-cost travel in Australia.”

Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus congratulated Jetstar on the anniversary, saying the airport has been an important part of the carrier’s success “since day one”.

“Being the home base and headquarters for Australia’s largest low-cost carrier has allowed millions of people to connect with friends and family and millions more to visit Victoria, which helps support the state’s famous restaurants, bars, theatres and sporting venues,” Argus said.

“We’ve partnered with Jetstar to help deliver on its low fare promise by providing fit-for-purpose infrastructure and working with them to plan for more growth over the next 20 years.”

Jetstar initially launched in 2004 with a fleet of 14 717s inherited from Impulse Airways. Its maiden flight took place on 25 May of that year, and the airline on 28 June this year will mark its 100th concurrent domestic route with the launch of an Avalon-Brisbane service.

The carrier last month released an updated version of its original “Let’s Fly Jetstar” campaign, featuring actual customer stories.

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