MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Qantas subsidiary Jetstar is aiming to enhance its punctuality by adjusting the deadlines for check-in, bag drop, and boarding as it introduces its seventh Airbus A321neo LR (NEO) into service.

The low-cost airline has decided to close boarding gates 20 minutes before departure for all domestic and international flights. Additionally, the deadlines for check-in and bag drop will now be 40 minutes prior to departure for flights within Australia and New Zealand, and 60 minutes prior to departure for international flights.

BITRE data from March 2023 indicated that Jetstar had the lowest on-time performance among all participating domestic airlines, with only 61.9% of flights arriving on time and 59.6% departing on time, while 7.1% were entirely cancelled.

Jetstar’s Chief Operating Officer, Matt Franzi, conceded that the airline's performance "hasn't been up to scratch". He said Jetstar is actively working to improve punctuality and reliability while maintaining the lowest possible airfares.

Franzi stated, “To improve our performance, we're recruiting more airport staff, cabin crew and engineering team members and making changes to our check-in, bag drop, and boarding times, to align them with other low-cost carriers worldwide.”

He added that everyone across the airline is dedicated to optimizing Jetstar's service while providing the lowest possible fares, enabling customers to travel to more places more frequently.

Jetstar also launched its seventh A321neo aircraft, VH-OFV, which commenced its inaugural flight as JQ938 from Melbourne to Cairns at 6:26am, from a scheduled 6am departure time, arriving in Cairns at 9:23am before returning to Melbourne as flight JQ941 at 1:29pm.

VH-OFV arrived in Melbourne from Germany via Mumbai and Perth at 6:51am on Monday morning. The airline's 7 NEO aircraft operate domestic and Bali services, with a new service to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands launching on June 29.

Jetstar stated that the NEOs offer 99.8% operational reliability, are 50% quieter than similar size Airbus A320/A321s, and consume up to 20% less fuel.

Franzi shared, “Our Airbus A321neo LRs are among the newest aircraft in the world, and our current fleet of six has delivered world-class mechanical reliability for its aircraft type. We are excited to be adding the seventh NEO to our fleet.”

By the end of 2024, Jetstar plans to add another 11 A321neo LR aircraft, bringing its total NEO fleet to 18.