Jetstar says its new Airbus A321 aircraft will let it fly new routes and it is eyeing flights between Auckland and Cairns.

The new planes will enter the low cost carrier's fleet next August and will open up medium haul routes that don't have the traffic density to support the larger Boeing 787.

Jetstar will be the first airline in Australia and the Pacific to operate the plane which will seat 232 passengers, which the airline says will be the most fuel-efficient aircraft in the group's fleet, allowing it to keep a lid on airfares.

Jetstar has ordered 18 A321neo LRs and they will be deployed on domestic routes and then on some international routes.


Although the airline is not providing any further details, it has said the planes could be used between Cairns and Auckland and on other routes such as such as Sydney to Bali, Avalon in Victoria to Bali or Melbourne to Nadi.

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The aircraft allows the airline to establish new city pairs. It is part of a growing trend to flying further with narrow body, single aisle planes such as the A321neo LR which can fly up to 5400km with a full payload - 1200km further than the current generation of A321s.

The Great Barrier Reef is a big attraction for visitors to Cairns. Photo / Supplied
The Great Barrier Reef is a big attraction for visitors to Cairns. Photo / Supplied

Airlines such as Norwegian are flying these types of planes across the Atlantic, many between secondary airports.

Auckland-Cairns is an established route but only Air New Zealand flies it now and only during winter. That airline's A321neos are not the long range option and not as densely packed as Jetstar's. Those planes have 214 seats.

Jetstar group chief executive Gareth Evans said the new aircraft offered 15 per cent fuel savings on earlier model planes.

Key cabin features include ergonomic Recaro seats with tapered arm rests to maximise space and extra large overhead bins with 40 per cent more room to stow bags.

The aircraft will feature digital streaming to give passengers the ability to access Jetstar's in-flight entertainment and colour LED lighting that adjusts to the different stages of flight.

Jetstar's A321neo LR can carry 232 passengers 5400km. Image / Supplied
Jetstar's A321neo LR can carry 232 passengers 5400km. Image / Supplied

New engines cut aircraft noise footprint by 50 per cent.

"Importantly, our A321 LR burns significantly less fuel than previous generation aircraft and together with advanced weather detection technology, our pilots are able to plot smoother and more fuel-efficient flight paths," said Evans.

The arrival of Neos will also add capacity on popular routes with the potential to free up some Boeing 787 flying for use on other, longer international leisure routes. Jetstar has 11 Dreamliners.

The 18 Jetstar A321 LRs are part of the Qantas group's order for 109 A321 Neo orders, which includes 36 extra long range XLRs, and are due to arrive between August 2020 and mid-2022.