Jetstar is considering switching passengers ‘stranded’ in Bali onto Qantas flights after cancelling multiple services into Sydney and Melbourne.
The airline said “engineering requirements” were behind the problems, which some have estimated have affected thousands of Australians holidaying in the popular resort.
Analysis of Flightradar records by Australian Aviation shows most 787 services into Melbourne and Sydney have been cancelled over the last few days, though flights into Brisbane appear mostly unaffected.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had to cancel some services between Australia and Denpasar due to engineering requirements,” said Jetstar.
“We sincerely apologise for the frustration and inconvenience this disruption has caused our customers.
“Our teams are looking at every option to get passengers on their way as soon as possible, including seats on Qantas flights and operating ad hoc services where possible.
“A flight credit or refund will also be made available to passengers who no longer wish to travel.”
Jetstar only restarted its popular service to Bali in March after a two-year COVID-19 pause. The island is the carrier’s most popular international destination, and a ticket sale to mark the restart saw the business’ biggest surge in bookings since 2016.
Pre-COVID-19, Jetstar operated up to 85 return flights per week to Bali, carrying more than 2 million customers annually, and contributing an estimated $2 billion Australian dollars to the local Balinese economy.
The airline initially flew from the Victorian capital three times per week, before adding Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns, and Darwin.
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 bad news for the Qantas Group comes after the TWU revealed on Sunday morning that its Dnata ground handlers would strike for 24 hours on Monday, 12 September.
It comes after Qantas outsourced 2,000 in-house ground handling roles to third-party companies, including Dnata and Swissport, last year. The Federal Court twice ruled that decision breached the Fair Work Act, but crucially said those employees won’t be able to get their old jobs back and instead must accept compensation.
The strike could also potentially affect those travelling on Emirates and Etihad, which also utilise Dnata ground handlers.
The union’s national secretary, Michael Kaine, argued his members are facing a “downward spiral of wages and conditions” and are only guaranteed 20 hours per week.
Dnata told Australian Aviation in response its pay offer was “highly competitive” and argued the TWU had shown “little willingness” to bridge the divide on outstanding issues.