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Feb 3, 2017

Virgin Australia unlikely to take over Tiger's cancelled Bali routes

Virgin Australia's low cost brand Tiger has given up on Bali after another rebuff by Jakarta

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Bali, beautiful but at times stormy for airlines

Those routes to Bali that Virgin Australia handed over to its low cost brand Tigerair Australia won’t be handed back to the parent company.

Flights to Denpasar from Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth by Virgin Australia were declared unsustainable for Virgin Australia’s full service operations last year when Tiger took them over.

That hasn’t changed now that Tigerair has retired wounded from the routes after the latest bruising disagreement with Indonesia’s aviation authorities.

A spokesperson said, “Virgin Australia has no plans to operate the Bali routes from which Tigerair Australia has withdrawn.”

The end for Tiger in Bali came swiftly, with the airline making it clear it saw Indonesia as being to blame for going back on its word several times in relation to approvals to operate the routes in place of Virgin Australia.

Tigerair’s statement says:

“Tigerair Australia has been informed that Indonesian authorities will not be providing Tigerair with the final approval needed to operate to and from Bali from today, Friday 3 February 2017.
 
The Indonesian authorities have informed Tigerair that they require an alternative regulatory solution for Tigerair’s operations to Bali. This solution would take at least six months to implement and would compromise the airline’s ability to offer low-cost airfares to travellers to Bali.
 
As a result of this development, Tigerair Australia has today made the difficult decision to withdraw from flying between Australia and Bali permanently, effective immediately.
 
Tigerair Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Rob Sharp said: “We understand the impact that this situation will have on passengers booked to travel to and from Bali with Tigerair, and we sincerely apologise to all affected passengers.
 
“We have been advised by Indonesian authorities that in order to continue operating our flights to Bali, we would have to transfer to a new operating model that would take at least six months to implement and would compromise our ability to offer low-cost airfares to Australians.

Tigerair had been operating the Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne services to Denpasar using three 737-800s drawn from the Virgin Australia fleet. It thought that it had approval to operate flights to Bali using A320s from its own fleet from today.

The low cost carrier will now seek alternative shorter haul international routes for the three 737s.

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