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Does Jetstar’s new A321 NEO mean cheaper fares for Australian travellers?

The first of Jetstar’s new A320 NEO fleet touched down in Melbourne on Sunday morning, signalling a new era of affordable domestic travel.

Low fares, less emissions and passenger comfort are the focus for setting a fresh standard of inflight experience, which Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans said has the potential to open ‘more low fares to even more destinations’.

From September, domestic travellers will be able to enjoy even lower fares in Australia, thanks to the A321 NEO flying with 15 per cent greater fuel efficiency – making it the lowest emissions aircraft in Jetstar’s current A320 fleet.

The brand new A321 NEO (stands for new engine option) is the long-range variation of the A320 NEO. The long-awaited aircraft showed off its long-range fuel efficiency as it arrived from Germany’s Hamburg-Finkenwerder airport via just two stopovers in Mumbai and Perth.

Jetstar’s newest addition is the widest single-aisle plane in the sky – its 232 economy seats offering 74 centimetres of leg room and a wider-than-usual almost 46 centimetres of width.

Passengers will soon be able to soak up that new plane smell (better than new car in our opinion) and use this additional space to spread out with their personal devices, which can be used to access in-flight entertainment via state-of-the-art digital streaming technology.

Double the amount of overhead storage and in-seat USB power are amongst some of the other novelties set to enhance passenger experience.

The NEO fleet sees Jetstar embark on an important sustainability journey. Mr Evans said another crucial change is the A320 NEO’s advanced weather detection technology, which will enable pilots to plan smoother and more fuel-efficient flight paths.

This coupled with weight-saving changes – including a lower seat capacity and specially-developed lightweight paint, which cuts 50 kilograms – means the aircraft, rather than travelers' wallets, will be lighter.

‘That translates to a saving of 1.2 million kilograms of fuel annually – a reduction of almost 4,000 tonnes of emissions or the equivalent of removing 1,500 cars from the road each year,’ he said.

Business class didn’t make Jetstar’s minimalistic weight-saving cut for this fleet, which Evans said will still primarily be flying domestically despite their long-range capabilities.

However, routes of up to 4,000 nautical miles provide exciting opportunities for the low-cost airline to expand its international network – the A321 NEO putting Australia’s East Coast cities in reach of popular Asian destinations.

Jet-setters could see themselves flying Jetstar from Sydney to Tokyo with Jetstar, with some flights across the Asia Pacific region on the cards for the future.

This new airbus is the very first of 38 new longer-range NEO aircraft set to be steadily rolled-out over the next seven years, a further eight of which are expected to arrive between now and May 2023.

The new A321 NEO promises lower fares from early September, when it is expected to begin servicing one of Jetstar’s more popular commercial routes, Melbourne to Cairns; the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef making an exciting destination fitting for this more sustainable aircraft.

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