Virgin Australia will operate two flights from Bali to Australia on Thursday in an effort to return passengers stranded by the sudden cancellation of Tigerair Australia services by Indonesian authorities.
On Wednesday, Tigerair Australia was forced to suspend all its services between Australia and Bali due to what the airline said were “new administrative requirements” from Indonesian authorities.
In addition to the four flights cancelled on Wednesday, Tigerair said in a statement on its website a further five services – Thursday’s TT1 MEL-DPS, TT24 DPS-PER, TT25 PER-DPS, TT16 DPS-ADL, TT19 PER-DPS and Friday’s TT2 DPS-MEL – have also been cancelled.
“Tigerair Australia is still working with the Indonesian Government to resume flights to and from Bali as soon as possible,” it said.
“Virgin Australia plans to operate two flights from Bali tomorrow (Thursday) in order to bring as many affected customers back to Australia as possible. The passengers that will be accommodated on these flights will be contacted directly.
“Customers currently in Australia who are affected by the cancellation of tomorrow’s Tigerair services will be offered a full refund.
“Tigerair Australia sincerely apologises for the inconvenience caused by these cancellations.”
The airline, which is owned by Virgin Australia, advised passengers holding tickets for travel between Bali and Australia to monitor the Tigerair website for the latest updates.
Indonesian authorities say Tigerair was in breach of its licence conditions, according to media reports in Indonesia.
Indonesia’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said Tigerair did not comply with its charter flight permit for flights to Bali.
The DGCA said Tigerair was only able to sell tickets for passengers originating in Australia and not Indonesia under its license.
Indonesia’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s head of cooperation and public relations Soebagio Agoes was quoted as saying all foreign airlines operating in Indonesia must comply with the regulations in their flight permits.
Media reports noted Tigerair’s approvals to operate flights from Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth to Bali were for the period October 30 2016 to March 25 2017, meaning the move to suspend the airline comes with a little over two months remaining on its licence.
Tigerair began flights to Bali in March 2016, taking over the Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth to Bali routes from parent Virgin.
The low-cost carrier is using three Virgin Boeing 737-800s that have been repainted in Tigerair livery to operate its first international services. The aircraft, which remain on Virgin’s air operator’s certificate (AOC) and are flown by Virgin pilots alongside Tigerair cabin crew, feature 180 seats in an all-economy configuration with five extra-legroom rows available for purchase as an optional extra.
Tigerair was currently in the midst of applying to Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for two changes to its AOC. The first was for the addition of the 737 onto its AOC as it transitions from Airbus A320s to 737-800s, with pilot training for the 737 already underway.
The second is to secure approval to operate international flights under its own AOC, rather than the current arrangement for its services to Bali.
Jetstar said on its website it would provide special discounted fares to affected Tigerair customers stranded in Bali on its services to Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne.
However, it cautioned that because it was currently the peak school holiday period there were “limited seats available”.
“Affected Tigerair customers should contact Jetstar customer service to make a booking. Customers will need to provide their Tigerair itinerary when checking-in to their flights at Denpasar Airport,” Jetstar said.