Jetstar adds two new routes from Canberra

Low-cost airline Jetstar will start flying from Canberra to Melbourne and the Gold Coast. Jetstar will begin flying between Australia’s bush capital and Melbourne in July and to Coolangatta/Gold Coast in September. Following the launch of the Canberra – Brisbane flights in December, these flights will bring the number of cities served from Canberra to three.

Jetstar’s new focus on Canberra

Jetstar has traditionally bypassed Canberra. Many of the travelers passing through this airport are civil servants and politicians stealing taxpayers’ money and favoring full-service airlines like Qantas with its array of lavish lounges at this airport. But now-defunct low-cost carrier Tigerair Australia had also carved out a niche in Canberra, catering to passengers who had to pay for their own flights. Jetstar is now entering this space.

From July 1, JQ654 will depart from Melbourne (MEL) daily at 09:25 for the 65 minute hop to Canberra (CBR), landing at 10:30. The all-economy class Airbus A320-200 will spend 35 minutes on the ground before taking off at 11:05 a.m. to operate JQ655 to Melbourne.

“We are delighted to add two additional routes to Canberra, following the success of our Brisbane Canberra flights which took off only a few months ago,” says Gareth Evans, CEO of Jetstar.

More Jetstar A320s in Canberra

From September 16, JQ651 will depart Coolangatta/Gold Coast (OOL) at 12:55 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday for the one-hour, 40-minute flight to Canberra. Again, this is a quick turnaround for the Airbus A320 in operation. JQ650 pushes back to Canberra at 3:10 p.m. on the same days and lands in the Gold Coast at 4:40 p.m.

“For Canberrans, having a low-cost direct service to the Gold Coast will be welcome news, with the region consistently ranked as one of Australia’s most popular family holiday destinations. And Melbourne’s dining, shopping and sporting events make for a great weekend getaway.” adds Mr. Evans.

Jetstar is/will compete with Virgin Australia and Qantas on the CNR – BNE and CBR – OOL routes, while Rex also joins the three airlines operating the CBR – MEL route.

An Airbus A320 Jetstar at the gate of Canberra Airport. Photo: Canberra Airport

A welcome competition at Canberra Airport

Just 147 miles (236 kilometres) southwest of Sydney as the crow flies, Canberra Airport’s proximity to the much larger Sydney Airport is its Achilles’ heel (with the famous fogs Canberra Winters). According to Australian government statistics, 113,000 passengers passed through Canberra Airport in February, making it the ninth busiest passenger airport in the country.

But no routes to or from Canberra were in the top 10 in February. The Canberra-Melbourne city pair ranked 12th that month, with 63,500 passengers traveling through the sector. The Brisbane-Canberra city pair ranked 19th with 51,900 passengers, while just 40,800 passengers used the Canberra-Sydney city pair in February, seeing the route ranked Australia’s 27th busiest.

Qantas Group airlines (which include QantasLink and Jetstar) handle the bulk of passenger traffic in Canberra, with Virgin Australia and Rex mopping up the rest. Virgin Australia contracts its Canberra-Sydney flight to Link Airways, which, like Rex, uses 34-seat Saab 340 turboprops on this particular sector. Although Jetstar does not operate turboprops and its passengers highly unlikely to see their A320s flying between Canberra and Sydney, the low-cost airline’s new presence in Canberra brings welcome competition and choice to the Australian capital, especially for passengers who have to slap down their own credit cards to pay.


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