Tigerair Australia to return to Bali from February 3 with Airbus A320s

AIRBUS A320s TIGERAIR MEL APR16 RF 5K5A6147
Tigerair Australia wil fly its Airbus A320s internationally for the first time from February 3 when it returns to Bali. (Rob Finlayson)

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.

Comments

  1. Dave says

    Ethan, Tiger has approval for flights under its own AOC. The 737’s are still under Virgins AOC, which means they can only fly their own A320’s. I wonder what sort of payload hit they will have to take from Melbourne. I don;t think the A320 has the legs to do Melbourne to Bali with a full load.

  2. Jim says

    Time to give up on the 737 venture. Tiger have operated perfectly fine with the A320 since the beginning. They are a proven platform that they have plenty of experience with! The logistics and cost of changing fleets would be astinomical. Qantas and Jetstar seem to work perfectly fine with different narrow body types.

  3. Roman says

    I didn’t think the A320 could do from Melbourne either. I assume they will just use the 738s on the domestic routes.
    The A320 is also not configured with any inflight entertainment which was the case for the Tiger 738s,

  4. Jason says

    Had Tigerair and parent Virgin requested RPT rights under its own AOC in the first place instead of inappropriate conduct under charter, none of this would have happened. The Indonesian government had every right to suspend operations and frankly should be applauded for their role in achieving a rather rapid and positive outcome.

  5. Rowan says

    Is it not likely the 737s will be used, operated by Virgin crews or otherwise, to cover for the A32os on domestic routes? Pretty unlikely they would put the A320s on Bali without something to fill their void on domestic…

  6. John Reid says

    Dave, After this debacle, I cannot imagine Tiger will have full loads to Bali for a while anyway, until public confidence is restored – and I am sure they are working to fast-track all required approvals for 738 operation fully under their own colours.

  7. John says

    Maybe Tiger could try a new venture international and forget about Bali. The damage this has caused to the brands Indonesia Opertaions is huge. They should cut the loss and focus on Vanuatu, Fiji, East Timor or New Zealand

  8. Jeff says

    Virgin should just take over the Perth to Bali route again, to compete with the new Batik Air flights about to commence. I don’t think they would want anther South East Asian airline gaining market shares on the Australian Market. Malindo is doing well and it’s the same parent company so Batik will do well too. virgin should use its reputation to prevent this

  9. Ben says

    I’m sure the A320’s will be a temporary fix. Once they have the Indonesian’s satisfied they are playing by the rules, I fully expect they will either have the 738 on their AOC or they’ll apply to have VA Intl operate the 738 wet lease for them (which is what they should have done in the first place).

    @Kim, I’m not sure where that number comes from(NEO?), but the CEO can’t do MEL-DPS in a commercially viable fashion without a tech stop.

  10. Mark says

    The cynic in me wonders if there is any link between the tiger issue, them being prohibited from selling tix from Indonesia and the impending start of service of Batik air on the route…

  11. maplesyrup says

    They arent going to fill the planes because of this so kill two birds with one stone and go MEL-PER-DPS. You fill the plane (or at least fill it more) with two markets and you get MEL pax to DPS when normally not possible.

  12. john says

    John,

    I think your right.

    Tiger will surely take over some of Virgins flights to places like Fiji & NZ.

    With NZD$ almost on par with AUD$, Queenstown is getting to be very expensive.

    Had a costing for week skiing in Queenstown & it was more expensive than a week in Colorado.
    (including all airfares)

    Difference is, you don’t go all the way to Colorado for just 1 week. Colorado skiing is 1000 times better than anything in NZ or OZ or Japan.

    John G

  13. Ottia Orr says

    My husband and I have booked for 08 February from Adelaide to Bali and return to Adelaide on 18 March. So will our flight be okay and on time. to fly on those dates?

  14. Rocket says

    This is astounding. Does ANYONE at Virgin Australia actually have a clue what they are doing??? Aside from a total lack of profitability, selling off aircraft as quick as they buy up other airlines, spending hundreds of millions on lounges that look like the inside of a hospital waiting area and hair-brained schemes like this which backfire completely… some serious questions need to be asked of the management and whether shareholders should stop pouring money into this bottomless pit and demand new management. Enough is enough, 5 years of losses and no benefits is enough.