Newcastle to Melbourne: Jetstar Celebrates 20th Anniversary

A Jetstar aircraft in flight.
Photo Credit: Jetstar

On May 25th, Jetstar marked a significant milestone. It was 20 years since its first flight took off from Newcastle, bound for Melbourne.

At the time, it wasn’t simply a flight; it was a revolution in Australian air travel, making it more accessible and affordable for millions.

To commemorate this anniversary, Jetstar recreated that inaugural flight, with some of the original pilots, cabin crew, and even passengers onboard!

The crew donned Jetstar’s brand new uniform, symbolizing a new era of low fares, modern aircraft, and enhanced reliability.

From Humble Beginnings

From a humble beginning with 14 planes serving Australia’s east coast in 2004, Jetstar has blossomed into a leading Asia-Pacific low-cost carrier, operating nearly 150 domestic and international routes.

Their launch was a record-breaker, selling a staggering 100,000 fares in just 24 hours.

Fast forward to today, and Jetstar has flown over 400 million passengers, with more than half enjoying fares under $100. Just last year, they sold over 12 million such fares, and this year promises to be even bigger.

To add to the celebratory spirit, Jetstar is offering one-way fares between Newcastle and Melbourne for just $49 on their website.

Transforming the Way Aussies Travel

Jetstar Group CEO, Stephanie Tully, and Melbourne Airport CEO, Lorie Argus, were present for the occasion. The two leaders were on hand to welcome the special JQ471 flight from Newcastle.

Ms. Tully highlighted Jetstar’s role in driving down airfares for the past two decades. She pointed to the airline’s unwavering commitment to making travel accessible for Australians.

“Jetstar transformed the way Australians travel,” she said. “Before our launch, many families could only dream of flying.”

Alan Wilson, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“Our low fares meant they could hop on a plane to the Gold Coast, Bali, or other exciting destinations for their family holidays.”

Ms. Tully emphasized that this celebration extends beyond Jetstar itself. “It’s about the 400 million customers who’ve chosen to fly with us across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the Pacific over the past two decades,” she stated.

Looking ahead, Ms. Tully expressed Jetstar’s excitement about the future. “With new aircraft joining our fleet and more destinations on the horizon, we’re ready to usher in a new era of low-cost travel in Australia for the next 20 years.”

Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Melbourne Airport CEO, Lorie Argus, acknowledged Melbourne’s role in Jetstar’s success story from the very beginning.

She highlighted the importance of their partnership in facilitating low fares by providing suitable infrastructure and planning for future growth.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Newcastle Airport CEO, Dr. Peter Cock. He expressed immense pride in being part of Jetstar’s journey since its inception.

He emphasized Jetstar’s role in boosting regional connectivity, tourism, and economic growth.

A Special Reunion

Jetstar Captain Jeff Bray, who piloted the inaugural flight 20 years ago, was present for the occasion. He proudly sat at the helm again for this commemorative flight.

“It’s a chance to reunite with colleagues and some of the same passengers who were there on that historic day,” he said. “Jetstar has always been about making travel accessible, and that’s what makes us unique.”

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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