stuffed holidays

Jan 11, 2017

Bali, beautiful one day, administratively opaque the next

Why would the travel plans of so many to such a beautiful place, be screwed up by regulatory changes no one seems willing to talk about?

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Bali, beautiful but at times stormy
Bali, beautiful but at times stormy


Something very disruptive and potentially costly happened to between 700 and 1400 Tigerair customers on the airline’s services between Australia and Bali today.

Four flights, two from Melbourne and one each from Adelaide and Perth, were cancelled because of suddenly changed Indonesian government administrative requirements.

What administrative requirement could possibly result in such damage or dislocation to so many people, yet be a big secret? A careful review of earlier announcements about Tiger Australia taking over some Denpasar flights from its 100 percent owner Virgin Australia probably explains the situation.

But first, this is what Tigerair Australia did say:

Tigerair Australia has cancelled four flights to Denpasar (Bali) today following a decision by the Indonesian government to impose new administrative requirements for the operation of its flights between Bali and Australia. Tigerair was and is in compliance with all original conditions imposed by the Indonesian Government on the operation of its Bali services.
Tigerair is working with the relevant Indonesian authorities to meet the new requirements as soon as possible.
In the meantime, Tigerair’s daily return Melbourne – Bali, Adelaide – Bali and Perth – Bali  flights are under review until further notice. All other Tigerair domestic flights are not affected by this decision.
Tigerair is contacting passengers affected by today’s cancellations to provide re-accommodation options to ensure customers are supported during this disruption. Tigerair Australia sincerely apologises for the inconvenience caused by today’s cancellations.

When Tigerair Australia took over these routes using former Virgin Australia 737s it also secured the permission of the Indonesian authorities handling the arrangement to operate them under its low cost brand but on the Virgin AOC or air operator certificate.

That temporary approval appears to have run into an administrative road block, stopping it in its tracks. Something that can happen in aviation regulation anywhere, as Qantas recently discovered in relation to the continued approval of a code share with American Airlines, for example.

While the Bali impasse is addressed by all parties, some of Tigerair’s dislocated customers will have reason to wish they had travel insurance for cancelled pre-paid accommodation and other holiday products, since these are not the responsibility of the airline taking them to Denpasar.

However Tigerair is providing customers who were unable to fly back to Australia today free hotel accommodation in Denpasar.


Leave a comment

4 thoughts on “Bali, beautiful one day, administratively opaque the next

  1. Deano DD

    What issues would the Indonesian have with Tiger
    If it is simply an administrative requirement, then could that not be sorted out with flights continuing whilst the issue is resolved
    It seems a bit heavy handed to simply cancel the right to fly
    There is no mention of Virgin flights being canceled….

    VA a simple quick fix would have been to swap frames and crew and operate the flights as Virgin rather than Tiger until the administrative requirement have been met….

    1. caf

      It seems to me that viewed in the light of recent “challenges” the relationship between the Australian and Indonesian governments, this was a diplomatic shot across the bow by the Indonesian Government at the Australian Government. Tigerair was just the unfortunate pawn.

  2. Creeper

    Remember an airline named ‘Pacific Blue’.

    They flew the PB brand to Bali on the Virgin AOC but they were not happy seeing these Pacific Blue 737s so they put Virgin on notice to bring in Virgin 737s as per the registered AOC

    So unless Tiger gains a International AOC or operated in Virgin Colours I can’t see this going anywhere.

    Jetstar 9V registered aircraft had problems a few years ago, they could only fly in on the ‘Valu Air’ livery.

  3. comet

    You’d have to question the calibre of TigerAir’s management.

    Indonesia always said they wanted ticketing to be controlled by Virgin. But Tiger’s management did not adhere to this requirement. Grounding is the consequence.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details