Parent Qantas Group confirmed in a market update that Jetstar Airways (JQ, Melbourne Tullamarine) will reactivate its widebody aircraft in mid-2021 to cope with rapidly returning domestic leisure demand.

The Australian holding said its LCC unit would initially deploy five B787-8s on services from both Melbourne Tullamarine and Sydney Kingsford Smith to Coolangatta/Gold Coast and Cairns. Jetstar's internet booking engine indicates that flights will begin on June 1, 2021.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Jetstar operates eleven B787-8s, all of which are currently in storage at Alice Springs (eight), Sydney Kingsford Smith (two), and Melbourne (one) airports.

As reported earlier, Jetstar will also transfer six A320-200s from Jetstar Japan to the Australian unit to temporarily increase its fleet, which comprises fifty A320-200s and eight A321-200s on top of the B787s.

Qantas underlined that even as international markets remain closed for the time being, the Australian domestic market was recovering rapidly.

"As a result, the Group is revising its estimates of reaching 80 per cent of its pre-COVID domestic capacity for the fourth quarter of FY21 [April-June 2021] and is now expecting this to be beyond 90 per cent, provided there are no significant [state] border closures. The continued growth in domestic capacity is expected to continue into FY22, with Jetstar to reach 120% of pre-COVID levels, and Qantas to be at 107%," the group said.

Qantas itself is operating all eleven of its B787-9s, as well as some of its A330-200s and A330-300s on repatriation and cargo-only flights. Its other widebody aircraft, including the remainder of the A330s and all twelve A380-800s, remain in storage. Qantas Group is preparing for the restart of scheduled international operations in October 2021 but said that it retained flexibility to react to a potential extension of the border closure by the government. Jetstar' schedules also indicate the low-cost carrier plans to resume international B787 operations to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Denpasar, Ho Chi Minh City, Honolulu, Osaka Kansai, Phuket, Seoul Incheon, and Tokyo Narita from October 31, the ch-aviation schedules module shows.