Jetstar celebrates 20th birthday by reenacting its inaugural flight from Newcastle to Melbourne

Saturday, 25 May 2024: Today marks exactly 20 years since Jetstar’s first flight took off from Newcastle to Melbourne, revolutionising air travel in Australia and making travel more affordable for millions of Aussies.

To celebrate today’s milestone birthday, Jetstar has recreated its inaugural flight between Newcastle and Melbourne, with several of the same original pilots, cabin crew and customers on board.

Jetstar’s new uniform, which will be rolled out later this year, will be worn by the crew on today’s flight, symbolising the airline’s transition into a new era of low fares, new aircraft and stronger reliability.

Starting with a fleet of 14 aircraft in 2004 flying only along Australia’s east coast, Jetstar has grown into one of the biggest and most successful low-cost carriers in the Asia Pacific, operating across nearly 150 domestic and international routes.

The airline’s launch in 2004 was one of the most successful airline launches in the world, with 100,000 fares sold in the first day.

Since that day, Jetstar has flown more than 400 million customers, with more than half flying for less than $100. Last year the airline sold more than 12 million fares for less than $100 and is on track to exceed that figure this year.

To further mark this important occasion for Jetstar, the airline is offering one-way fares between Newcastle and Melbourne from just $49 at

Jetstar Group CEO, Stephanie Tully, and Melbourne Airport’s CEO, Lorie Argus, welcomed the arrival of JQ471 from Newcastle this morning.

Jetstar Group CEO, Stephanie Tully, said the airline has helped to put downward pressure on airfares over the past 20 years and its commitment to helping Australians take off more is as strong as ever.

“Jetstar has transformed the way Australians travel. 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.

“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, said Melbourne had been a proud part of Jetstar’s success story 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.

“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.”

Newcastle Airport CEO, Dr Peter Cock congratulated Jetstar on a remarkable milestone.

“We are immensely proud to have been part of Jetstar’s journey from the very beginning, witnessing their growth and success firsthand.

“Jetstar has played a crucial role in fulfilling our vision of being the airport the Hunter region deserves, enhancing the travel experience for all.

“Our partnership with Jetstar has been instrumental in boosting connectivity, promoting tourism, and driving economic growth in our region. We look forward to many more years of successful collaboration.”

Jetstar Captain, Jeff Bray operated Jetstar’s inaugural flight and was on board again today.

“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.

“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.”

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