Jetstar unveils groundbreaking direct flight from Sydney to Rarotonga, marks a milestone in Australian Aviation.

Jetstar has achieved a historic first by becoming the inaugural Australian carrier to establish a non-stop route between Australia and the Cook Islands in more than thirty years.

Deploying its Airbus A321LR aircraft (long-range variant of A321neo), the budget airline is set to facilitate three round-trip flights weekly from Sydney to Rarotonga. The pioneering flight, designated JQ141, took to the skies on its maiden journey from Sydney to Avarua last Thursday.

This launch marks the first occasion an Australian airline has navigated a direct flight path to the Cook Islands since Ansett Australia ceased its operations in 1990. Jetstar's existing route from Auckland to Rarotonga has been a popular choice, but the new connection from Sydney offers a shorter travel time by at least three hours, while also adding up to 60,000 additional seats annually between the two destinations. Air New Zealand has been the only other airline providing a direct service in recent years.

Jetstar’s Chief Customer Officer, Alan McIntyre, expressed his optimism about the new route. "At just a five-hour flight from Sydney, our new service positions the Cook Islands as the next go-to destination for Australians seeking a tropical getaway, particularly during colder months. With our competitive pricing, Australians can now more affordably access Rarotonga's stunning weather, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters. We extend our gratitude to the Cook Islands Government for its support in launching this new route."

Jetstar welcomed its eighth aircraft from the Airbus A320neo family in Melbourne last month, ahead of the winter school holidays, with a ninth set for delivery by the end of July. This latest aircraft, registered VH-OFW, made its first landing in Adelaide before being relocated to Jetstar's Melbourne base.

According to Jetstar, the A320neos boast a mechanical reliability of 99.8 per cent, and are not only 50 per cent quieter than their Airbus A320/A321 counterparts, but also consume up to 20 per cent less fuel. The airline expects to augment its A320neo fleet to a total of 18, with another 10 A321LR aircraft set to arrive by the end of 2024.