Tigerair Australia last Friday announced it would pull the plug on services to Bali after failing to get approval from the Indonesian authorities, but industry players are confident that despite an immediate impact from the reduced seat capacity other flight options are available to soften the blow.
Following the first cancellation of flights last month, the Virgin Australia subsidiary reportedly got the go-ahead to resume services from February 3, before announcing that it will permanently withdraw flights from Bali.
Pamela Ong, director of sales and marketing, The Stones - Legian, Bali, said: “The pullout will have an impact as Tigerair was a cost-effective option out of Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. From Perth, the flight is less than four hours, so a lot of Australian would come to Bali for short weekend breaks.”
Yani Suwanda, cluster director of sales and marketing, Bali at Padma Hotels and Resorts, added: “Australia is a big market for us, with more than 50 per cent share of business, and (a significant) chunk of them arrive on Tigerair.”
As last-minute bookings tend to be more expensive, Yani said some clients who were meant to fly in on the cancelled Tigerair flights had postponed their trips due to the inability to find alternatives within their budget at short notice.
However, with the reduced seat capacity coming during the low season, there will be enough seats on the sector when airlines operate more flights during peak season, opined according to Nyoman Astama, chairman of Indonesia Hotel General Manager Association Bali.
As well, Jason Lim, COO of Smailing Tour DMC, is confident Bali will remain a go-to destination for Australians, with other carriers such as Garuda Indonesia, Jetstar and AirAsia also serving the Australia-Bali sector.
He noted that a growing number of Australian families visiting Bali are spending more on better hotels, restaurants and services, and are more willing to pay extra for full-service airlines. In comparison, a good portion of those affected by Tigerair’s flight cancellations tend to be younger travellers with weaker spending power.