From June 23 2018, Qantas will offer a daily 737-800 service on Melbourne-Bali, with QF45 departing Melbourne in the afternoon for an evening arrival in Bali. The reciprocal QF46 was scheduled as red-eye flight, arriving back in Melbourne just before 0600.
It will be the oneworld alliance member’s second nonstop service to the popular Indonesian tourist destination, having resumed Sydney-Bali flights in 2015 on a seasonal basis and then upgrading the route to daily a short time later.
Meanwhile, Jetstar in early February increased its Boeing 787-8 flights between Melbourne and Bali to twice daily, from 10 times weekly previously.
Qantas international chief executive Alison Webster noted the number of Australians travelling to Bali had doubled over the past five years.
“As a Group, we’ve built flexibility in to our network to respond to growing demand where we see it,” Webster said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Bali is a very popular holiday destination which caters to different budgets and tastes and with more services between the two countries, we are able to provide customers with greater choice.”
Qantas has likely freed up a 737-800 for the route following its move to transfer two Airbus A320s from Jetstar to its Western Australia-based Network Aviation business for charter flights.
The two A320s were slated to take over some fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) and charter services to WA’s remote mining destinations operated by Boeing 737-800s.
The other 737-800 was likely to be used for previously announced extra nonstop flights between Perth and Singapore.
The new Qantas flights will add 1,218 one-way seats on the Melbourne-Bali route, given its 737-800s are configured with 12 business and 162 economy seats for a total of 174.
It will be the only narrowbody operator on Melbourne-Bali, with Garuda Indonesia (A330s) and Jetstar (787-8) deploying widebodied aircraft on the route.
Virgin Australia served Bali from Melbourne, also with 737-800s, until 2015 before handing over the route to its LCC unit Tigerair Australia in March 2016.
However, Tigerair Australia served Bali for less than a year and was forced to permanently withdraw from the route in February 2017 after reaching an impasse with the Indonesian government, who suspended suspended the airline’s flights due to what it said was a breach of its charter permit.
Indonesia AirAsia X also previously operated on Melbourne-Bali, but dropped the route in September 2016 amid heavy financial losses.
Aviation thinktank CAPA – Centre for Aviation’s Blue Swan Daily website said in a research note in early January 2018 Melbourne-Bali was a route that had “high load factors and yields” given the exit of Indonesia AirAsia X and Tigerair Australia.