Tigerair stops selling tickets to Bali amid ongoing talks with Indonesia

A file image of a Tigerair Australia Boeing 737-800 VH-VUB at Melbourne Airport. (Brian Wilkes)
A file image of a Tigerair Australia Boeing 737-800 VH-VUB at Melbourne Airport. (Brian Wilkes)

Tigerair Australia has stopped ticket sales for services to Bali as it seeks a resolution with Indonesian authorities on its flights to the popular tourist destination.

The airline has “paused” sales of tickets to and from Bali until March 25 while discussions continue talks with Indonesia regarding its operating permits for flights from Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth.

“Tigerair Australia continues to work constructively with the Indonesian Government, and I am confident we are making good progress on options to resume services as soon as possible this week,” Tigerair chief executive Rob Sharp said in a statement.

“We have put a temporary pause on the sale of flights to Bali as we believe this is the right thing to do by the consumer, and we plan to be back on sale again very quickly.

“We are doing everything we can to get back to normal Bali operations as soon as possible, and prioritising the return of our customers currently in Bali back to Australia.”

On January 10, Tigerair 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. Further, the sale of one-way tickets is also prohibited under the Tigerair permit.

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.

On January 13, Tigerair was given a temporary reprieve to bring its stranded passengers in Bali back to Australia until January 16.

However, Indonesian authorities maintained their ban on Tigerair resuming flights from Australia to Bali, meaning the airline has been flying empty aircraft to Bali in order to bring passengers home.

Virgin Australia, which owns 100 per cent of Tigerair, has been called in to operate relief flights for the purposes of bringing stranded passengers back to Australia.

“I am also pleased to confirm that Virgin Australia is currently positioning an aircraft and crew in Bali. This will ensure that we can bring customers home from Tuesday onwards, if we have not already commenced normal operations by then,” Sharp said.

“Thus far, we have brought home over 3,000 passengers. We have and will continue to support Australians still in Bali with accommodation costs and we have been giving full refunds to those who have been unable to fly to Bali.

“I sincerely apologise to all our customers who have been affected by this issue, especially as it has taken place during school holidays. Our team is working around the clock to rectify it as soon as possible.”

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.

Comments

  1. says

    It isn’t surprising when CASA refused to grant Tiger an International AOC in December nor allowed the attachment of a 4th 737 from the Virgin fleet.
    Why would Indonesia agree to the continuance of a “wet leasing ” operation when Tiger weren’t able to satisfy its own regulator.
    The Indonesians are not the demons here as CASA couldn’t be satisfied after 6 months.
    Virgin and Tiger management at a minimum could be considered naive.
    CASA has given Indonesians little slack for very good reason..
    I can’t see Qantas Group making this oversight.

  2. Robbert says

    This is a major screw up by Tigerair management!!!! No way around the consequence of pushing requirements to the limit and playing with words.

    Everyone blames the Indonesians but in reality, Tigeraair management (AND the Virgin CEO) brought this on themselves by trying to be smart with the definitions and thinking of “money only” bean counting type decisions that gets them bonuses in the short term and causes issues in the long term!

    I cant fathom the damage this does to the Tiger brand, just when it was turning itself around and making money with the Airbus aircraft!

    I think that the CEO and upper management in Tiger need to be finding another job!

  3. Sarah says

    Even if tiger refunds the tickets, what about the people who have prebooked accommodation n paid for travel insurance that is not covering this incidence. Who will give them that money ?

  4. Geoff says

    Seems black and white to me. Did Tigerair sell any tickets originating from Indonesia to Australia and or did they sell any one way tickets? I would imagine visa’s have to be sighted and validated prior to any flight.

    Maybe the “new administrative requirements” referred by Tigerair was actually the Indonesian authorities challenging Tigerair due to the airline operating outside their licence conditions, at least in the Indonesian’s opinion….

  5. Graham says

    We are meant to fly home Thursday and to date heard nothing from Tiger. Nor the others staying at our hotel. The news in Bali has not mentioned the problem ( might be sensored) so those here know nothing other then the tiger alerts which are few and far between. Can’t believed travel agent convinced me to fly tiger.