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Indonesia AirAsia Extra waiting for CASA green light to start Melbourne-Bali flights

written by australianaviation.com.au | January 29, 2015

A Malaysia AirAsia X Airbus A330-300. (Matthew Coughran)
A Malaysia AirAsia X Airbus A330-300. (Matthew Coughran)

Indonesia AirAsia Extra is still waiting for regulatory approval to commence flying between Melbourne and Bali more than a month after the first flight was supposed to take off.

The newest affiliate of the AirAsia group of airlines started selling tickets for its inaugural route linking the Victorian capital and the popular Indonesian tourist destination in October, with sale fares as low as A$99 one-way.

However, it began informing passengers via text message on Christmas Day the flights that were due to start on December 26 were cancelled due to the airline not receiving the necessary regulatory approvals in time.

As a result, passengers were routed through Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia AirAsia X, adding hours to their journey to Bali and inconveniencing thousands of passengers.

The AirAsia website has stopped selling direct flights between Melbourne and Bali.

Indonesia AirAsia Extra operated its inaugural flight on January 19, when XT900 took off from Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport bound for Taipei Taoyuan Airport with senior executive Dendy Kurniawan on board. The Airbus A330-300 aircraft then returned to Bali as the reciprocal XT901.

Indonesia AirAsia Extra senior executive Dendy Kurniawan on board the airline's first flight from Bali to Taipei on Jan 19 2015. (Twitter/Tony Fernandes)
Indonesia AirAsia Extra senior executive Dendy Kurniawan on board the airline’s first flight from Bali to Taipei on Jan 19 2015. (Twitter/Tony Fernandes)

The airline planned to offer once a week service to Taiwan starting January 30, according to the Airline Route website.


The start of regular public transport services from Bali to Taipei confirmed media reports Indonesia AirAsia Extra was yet to receive regulatory approvals from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

CASA said it was currently in the process of assessing Indonesia AirAsia Extra’s application for a foreign aircraft air operator certificate, which would allow it to operate the Melbourne-Bali flights.

“As of yet no decision has been made,” a CASA spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.


“CASA still needs to complete its assessment of safety and regulatory information relevant to that application and cannot make a decision about the matter until we have done so.”

Indonesia AirAsia Extra is part of the AirAsia X group of airlines.

AirAsia X already has bases in Malaysia and Thailand flying widebody Airbus A330-300 aircraft on routes longer than four hours.

AirAsia X is a separate entity from the short-haul focused AirAsia group, which operates narrow body Airbus A320s from hubs in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and India on routes of less than four hours’ duration.

However, both AirAsia and AirAsia X share the same website and have a common booking system. Moreover, staff wear the same uniforms and the aircraft are painted in a similar livery.

Combined, they carried about 50 million passengers in calendar 2014, according to a research report from CAPA – Centre for Aviation, making it one of only 10 airline groups in the world to handle that many passengers a year.

CASA noted that while Indonesia AirAsia Extra was part of the AirAsia group, it was not the same airline that operated Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ8501 which crashed into the Java Sea enroute from Surabaya to Singapore on December 28.

An Australian-based spokesperson for Indonesia AirAsia Extra said the airline could provide no new information from a media statement issued on Thursday January 22, which said it was “common practice and permissible in Australia to advertise and sell tickets subject to gaining regulatory approvals on a new route”.

“AirAsia clearly stated in all advertising for this services, that flights were still subject regulatory approval, as per the Australian Air Navigation Regulations,” the statement said.

“AirAsia sincerely regrets any inconvenience caused to our passengers as a result of an unforeseen delay in receiving the final approvals to operate the new direct services.

“We are continuing to work with the relevant authorities to gain the necessary approvals and hope to have this in place as soon as possible.”

The airline said affected passengers were offered full refunds, a credit for future travel or alternate flights to Bali via Kuala Lumpur.

Comments (6)

  • John


    Do these people really think we are stupid? Seperate AOCs I understand but to say it’s a completely different airline from the one that crashed is an insult to the entire travelling public and all the families of the lost souls. So it’s ok to use the brand imaging and marketing of the parent airline but when one of your offshoots has a hull loss in the Java Sea, “oh, completely different airline”. I really hope the regulator looks seriously at this as it seems to me to be a complete facade.

  • Dave


    John, isn’t it the same as the Qantas/Jetstar arrangement, or the Virgin/Tiger? Would you view them as the same airline or separate? What if Jetstar was called Qantas Light or something like that?

    Maybe the word ‘airline’ is a little misleading, both brands (or airlines?) are owned by the AirAsia Group, just like Qantas and Jetstar are both owned by the Qantas Group. The difference is that firstly, Air Asia and Air Asia X have a brand appearance much more similar to each other, than Qantas and Jetstar do. And secondly the brand pitch for Air Asia is more focused on distance, where was with the Qantas group its more to do with price point

    Which, I guess, means people associate Air Asia and Air Asia X much more closely with each other than people do with Qantas and Jetstar.

    Similarly, British Airways and Iberia are both owned by IAG. Are they the same airline by that definition? If one of them had an incident are they viewed as the same, or separate, airlines. I dont think its a simple thing.

  • jilien


    to me they are the same airlines. Business practices and management decisions (selecting routes, illegal routes, pilot training, staff training etc) is going to be the same. Airasia as a parent company not going to have different business and management practices for its different business divisions. They would rather save more money and effort by keeping everything the same between different parts of their company (airasia, airasia x or what have you). So, if it turns out the crash happened bcos of the pilot error and lack of training and guidance ( which at this point seems most likely as according to the finding pilot was not given proper weather report and he turned off planes main computers just before the crash). it casts shadow on all Airasia and it’s affiliates. I, as a consumer, believe that their practices are same everywhere unless it is proven otherwise. So if something is wrong in one division the same issue can crop up in another division as the business practices, rules or lack of are the same in the company.

  • NJP


    Having flown AirAsiaX at Christmas SYD>KUL>SYD on 6yr old A333’s with threadbare seats on both flights and on the return flight, ceiling panels held in place with duct tape & no toilet rolls from 3 hrs in to landing, I’d say CASA should check all of AirAsiaX regardless of the flag & registration painted on the side. Even the flight attendant uniforms were looking work & re-sewn.

    I was more confident flying on a 20+ yr old B767 with Qantas than a 6 yr old A333 with AirAsiaX

    Next time I’ll fly via Singapore with SQ or QF

  • grantio


    as for last part of article “The airline said affected passengers were offered full refunds, a credit for future travel or alternate flights to Bali via Kuala Lumpur” I have heard nothing from airasia about refund for my booking in april despite submitting an enquiry 3 weeks ago.

  • Jono


    Don’t agree with Air Asia selling tickets pre approval BUT I don’t see any criticism on the CASA.
    The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has had this application for months …. not weeks – MONTHS.
    I get that they need to review thoroughly but really, how long does it take?
    Reminds me of applications to local government – They always take forever!
    Just MAKE A DECISION … yay or nay!

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