Jetstar will become the first international airline to operate after-dark flights to Queenstown when its Melbourne-Queenstown service touches down in the southern lakes resort at 7.20pm this evening.
The inaugural winter evening service is over 90 per cent full with more than 160 customers booked on the historic flight, which is scheduled to arrive just after the official opening of the Queenstown Winter Festival on Friday night.
Grant Kerr, Jetstar Head of New Zealand, said tonight’s arrival will be the culmination of many years of work by the airline’s safety and flight operations teams.
“Jetstar was part of the working group that helped to prepare a foundation safety case on Queenstown after-dark flights and subsequently our own operator safety case,” Mr Kerr said.
“We’ve worked very closely with a range of stakeholders over a number of years to bring these flights to fruition and we’re very much looking forward to providing a warm welcome to our first passengers when they arrive tonight from Melbourne.”
Mr Kerr said Queenstown was one of the airline’s most popular destinations.
“Queenstown provides a world class visitor experience year-round and our new after-dark flights offer even more options for travellers to make the most of their time when they visit.
“The new flights enable winter holiday-makers to fully utilise their time off by departing Melbourne in the afternoon and spending a full day on the slopes before flying home at night.”
Jetstar’s daily winter season JQ 219 service departs Melbourne at 2.05pm and arrives in Queenstown at 7.20pm. The return service JQ 220 departs Queenstown at 8.20pm, arriving in Melbourne at 9.55pm.
Jetstar is the second-biggest airline operator in Queenstown with up to 17 international return services a week from Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast and up to 16 domestic return flights a week from Auckland. Flights are operated using Airbus A320 aircraft.
Between March and October Jetstar operates around 700 return international and domestic services to Queenstown.
The Jetstar Group is one of Asia Pacific’s fastest growing airline brands with one of the most extensive ranges of destinations in the region. It is made up of Jetstar Airways (subsidiary of the Qantas Group) in Australia and New Zealand, Jetstar Asia in Singapore, Jetstar Pacific in Vietnam, and Jetstar Japan in Japan. Jetstar branded carriers operate up to 5,000 flights a week to more than 85 destinations. The Jetstar Group carried more than 37 million passengers in financial year 2017.