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