Tigerair Australia will operate its Airbus A320s internationally for the first time from February 3 after securing the green light to return to Bali.
The breakthrough in negotiations between the airline and Indonesian authorities comes after Tigerair was forced to suspend flights to the popular tourist destination on January 10 due to what it said were “new administrative requirements”.
Since the January 10 suspension, Tigerair and its owner Virgin Australia have operated a number of relief flights bringing passengers stranded in Bali back to Australia.
The low-cost carrier had also stopped ticket sales for all its Bali services – Tigerair flies to Bali from Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth – up to and including March 25.
Tigerair said on Thursday it planned to resume flying to Bali with its Airbus A320 fleet, rather than the Boeing 737-800s that it was operating to Bali prior to the suspension.
“Tigerair Australia has received a key approval from the Indonesian Government to operate scheduled flights to and from Bali using its Airbus A320 aircraft,” the airline said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
“Tigerair plans to resume its normal Bali flying schedule from 3 February 2017, subject to final procedural approvals being secured.”
Passengers booked to travel on Tigerair to Bali between January 20 and February 3 will be offered full refunds, the airline said.
Further, Tigerair said it planned to again start selling tickets for flight scheduled between February 3 and March 25.
Indonesian authorities suspended Tigerair’s flights to Bali due to the airline being 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 licence. Further, the sale of one-way tickets was also prohibited under the Tigerair permit.
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 came 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 used three Virgin Boeing 737-800s that were repainted in Tigerair livery to operate its first international services. The aircraft remained on Virgin’s air operator’s certificate (AOC) and were flown by Virgin pilots alongside Tigerair cabin crew.
The resumption of Tigerair flights to Bali was understood to be under a new permit for regular public transport (RPT) operations under its own AOC, rather than the charter permit the LCC was operating under before its flights with Virgin aircraft were suspended.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) website showed the Tigerair AOC was most recently updated in November 2016 for three years.
A Tigerair spokesperson said the updated AOC gave the airline approval to operate international flights to Bali under its own AOC using its fleet of 14 Airbus A320s.
Tigerair has a second application before CASA to add the 737 as a fleet type onto its AOC as part of its transition from Airbus A320s to 737-800s over the next three years, with pilot training for the 737 already underway.