Tigerair Australia gets temporary approval to bring stranded Bali passengers home

Tigerair Australia Boeing 737-800 VH-VOR operating the airline's inaugural flight Bali. (Tigerair Australia)
Tigerair Australia is flying Boeing 737-800s from Bali to Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne. (Tigerair Australia)

Tigerair Australia has a temporary reprieve from Indonesian authorities to bring its stranded passengers in Bali back to Australia.

The low-cost carrier has been granted permission fly travellers back home until Monday January 16, Tigerair said on its website on Friday.

“After consultation with the Indonesian Government, Tigerair Australia has been granted permission to operate flights from Bali to Australia until Monday 16 January 2017 to enable Australians who are currently in Bali to return home,” it said.

“As a result of these services, Tigerair Australia will be able to bring almost 2,000 customers back to Australia.”

However, Indonesian authorities have not allowed Tigerair to resume its flights from Australia to Bali, meaning the airline will be forced to fly empty aircraft to Bali in order to bring passengers home. Tigerair has cancelled all scheduled services from Australia to Bali between now and January 20. Flights beyond January 20 were “under review”.

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.

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.

The Indonesian 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 Australia chief executive Rob Sharp said the airline was compliant with the terms of its authorisation.

“If the Indonesian government does not wish to honour the current agreement, we are asking them to give us a grace period so that we can continue to fly while we work through the new requirements together,” the Reuters news agency quoted Sharp as saying.

“This would help us to support our customers who make an important contribution to tourism in Indonesia.”

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.

Tigerair scheduled flights

Friday January 13 – TT24 DPS-PER, TT6 DPS-MEL
Saturday January 14 – TT10 DPS-ADL, TT24 DPS-PER, TT6 DPS-MEL
Sunday January 15 – TT10 DPS-ADL, TT24 DPS-PER, TT6 DPS-MEL
Monday January 16 – TT10 DPS-ADL, TT24 DPS-PER, TT6 DPS-MEL

Comments

  1. Brad says

    Administration gone mad! If Indonesia just dropped this on Tiger without any chance to address the issues they are being ridiculous. The only exception would surely be grave safety concerns which don’t appear to be the case. The comments from Sharp et al. don’t appear to indicate that Tiger have just dropped the ball!

  2. Josh says

    All the reports I’ve read regarding this drama failed to help me understand why all of a sudden Tigerair doesn’t comply with its regulations any more. What changed?

  3. Bill says

    I believe is had something to do with ticket sales and that Tigerair can’t, under Indonesian law, sell tickets for flights that originate in Bali.

  4. Lloyd Armstrong says

    Talk about dropping the hammer of Thor on Tiger!

    From what I’ve researched Tiger physically did nothing wrong, there was a loophole that passengers in Australia could potentially book one way tickets from Australia to Bali on Tiger, requiring the passenger to buy another one way ticket FROM Indonesia back to Australia. Technically meaning Tiger would be facilitating tickets being sold from Indonesia which was against requirements, even if that return ticket was still with Tiger, or with another airline (even Garuda).

    Basically what they’re saying is that if you book a ticket to Bali you can’t book a one way ticket, it needs to be a full return ticket with the same airline (which is stupid…).

    Complete over reaction in my view.

  5. Jason says

    Charter flights in this instance equal return journeys from Australian ports to Bali. If one way or split journeys were available, then it would likely constitute more a normal RPT service. Whilst I think it’s administer via gone mad and the circumstances are less than ideal, it is what it is.
    As for stranded customers caning Jetstar for apparent overcharging on their discounted offer for travel, maybe choosing a premium carrier or taking out travel insurance would have been better decisions at the time of booking.

  6. Salesh says

    From what I understand, Tiger AOC doesn’t include overseas destinations as yet, hence they can only operate as a charter flights and not RPT hence the need for return tickets.
    Regardless of this, you can’t fly into many countries, including PNG, Fiji on one way tickets unless you hold local passport

  7. Gary says

    As a confirmed passenger on TT10/14Jan I am glad I was able to obtain a seat and travel on JQ128/13Jan. If I had stayed in Bali to catch TT10 I would still be waiting in Bali. Tigerair offered to pay $120.00 towards accommodation in Bali. Not much help when I needed to be in Adelaide on 14Jan. With almost 50 years experience in the travel industry why am I not surprised by the events now taking place.. I guess with experience it always pays to have a Plan B. I do hope Tigerair has one.

  8. A.P.R says

    Simply put, Tigerair Management thought they could “play with words and definitions”, couple this with the Indonesians being quite sensitive when it comes to getting around stated requirements, then you have an affair like this one!

    I believe that Tigerair is essentially the antagonist in this, as they pushed the meaning of their permit to the limit, regardless of knowing the law/requirements! Tiger have no one to blame but themselves for this overstep and should have had their Sh*t together before attempting such a rapid excursion into Bali operations!

    If the management were worth a pinch of salt, they should have expanded into pacific destinations first and set a precedent of stable international operations! Yet instead, Sharp (Tiger CEO) decided to drop the hammer on the company pilots by changing fleet types AND going to international operations.

    Just when Tiger were starting to make money too!!!! The next profit/loss Qtr results will be very interesting!! Did someone say new management….again??

  9. Tim says

    Only half the story is being told here. These are not “new regulations”. Tigerair only has a charter licence to Indonesia and it breached the licence by issuing one-way tickets. It’s not rocket science.

  10. Brad says

    Thanks to everyone for clarifying the “charter’ licence and the associated requirements. At first I couldn’t believe the Indonesian bureaucracy and felt for Tiger, but with more details you start to be less forgiving of Tiger’s slip-up. Amazing what some more facts (if I can call the comments on this thread that) can do!