Commercial flights between Australia and Bali have resumed for the first time in two years after Jetstar restarted its service from Melbourne on Monday.
The island is the carrier’s most popular international destination and its recent ticket sale there saw its biggest surge in bookings since 2016.
The first flight was carried out by a 787-8, VH-VKI msn 36235, which departed at 10:10am as flight JQ43.
Jetstar Group CEO Gareth Evans said, “We are very excited to return to Bali today after two long years, and we are confident that Bali will quickly regain its position as our most popular international tourist destination now that borders are open.
“Pre-COVID, Jetstar operated up to 85 return flights per week to Bali, carrying more than 2 million customers each year and contributing almost 2 billion Australian dollars annually to the local Balinese economy.”
The airline will initially fly from the Victorian capital three times per week, before adding Sydney and Perth in early April and Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and Darwin in May.
Qantas’ NSW service will begin on 28 March while Virgin will recommence services from 2 May.
Indonesia dropped mandatory quarantine arrangements to Bali on 8 March and re-introduced its visa-on-arrival process for travellers from Australia and 23 other countries.
The visa costs $50 and will permit a stay for up to 30 days, while those arriving must take a COVID test at the airport. Passengers wishing to visit other parts of Indonesia can do so if they take a PCR test on day three of their visit.
The news come after Jetstar resumed flights between Australia and Thailand in January, restarting services connecting Sydney and Phuket on its Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, with tri-weekly flights available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Sister airline Qantas will also expand its international network in the coming months, reinstating its Brisbane-Singapore, Sydney-Manila and Sydney-Jakarta routes.
Qantas is also gearing up to restart daily flights connecting Brisbane and Los Angeles on its Airbus A330 aircraft from 1 April.
Earlier on Monday, Australian Aviation reported Qantas passengers flying to London will have the option to layover in Singapore from 19 June using its refurbished A380s.
From the same day, the Flying Kangaroo will also reactivate its flights to the British capital via Perth.
However, it’s not yet known whether the two new services will spell the end of the current layover in Darwin, which Qantas has repeatedly hinted could remain in some capacity.
The news was confirmed by the business’ chief executive, Alan Joyce, in an interview with Executive Traveller on Sunday, and comes despite the airline announcing in January the timing of a return to the WA capital was “under review”.