Two of Australia’s top airlines are in a fierce battle to win more flights to Bali.
As Virgin Australia and Jetstar compete to win extra flight capacity on the I Gusti Ngurah Rai International schedule, industry unions are weighing in with their support.
In 2024, Bali aims to welcome 7 million international arrivals. For decades, Australian tourists have been the most frequent international arrivals in Bali, and in order to hit targets, more flights are needed.
The Flight Attendants Association of Australia (FAAA) has given its backing to Virgin Australia to win more flights to Denpasar.
The Transport Workers Union has also given their support to Virgin Australia to seal the deal.
Both unions have supported Virgin Australia on the notion that the increased flight capacity would create more jobs for Australian-based aircraft crews.
Steven Reed, the Industrial Relations Manager for the FAAA, submitted a pitch to the International Air Services Commission for the extra flights.
In the statement, Reed explained, “We support Virgin’s application as we believe this will have an ongoing benefit to the Australian economy, among other considerations.“
“By employing local Australian employees, the benefits will flow to Australian consumers and further enhance competition.”
“Other applicants currently utilize offshore cabin crew on substandard conditions, and that only offers limited consumer benefits, in our opinion.”
The International Air Services Commission must make a decision as to who gets the extra flights to Denpasar since there is not enough demand or capacity at the airports to enable both airlines to operate the new increased routes.
As it stands, Qantas, the parent company of Jetstar, wants to launch daily services between Cairns-Melbourne-Denpsar and a further Adelaide-Perth-Denpasar service that would operate three times a week.
Virgin Australia wants to operate two new daily routes, Gold Coast-Perth-Denpasar and Adelaide-Denapasar, also via Perth.
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Industry unions are backing Virgin Australia largely due to their commitment to supporting Australian industry and creating more jobs.
The Transport Worker’s Union statement, penned by National Secretary Michael Kaine, explained: “Virgin’s commitment stands in contrast with Jetstar and Qantas’ heavy reliance on internationally-based crews, which concerningly have been shown to be paid as little as $2 an hour for Indonesian-based crew.”
Many people opt for Jetstar due to its low-cost options. Tracking back, this is partly how this whole battle began.
A representative for Qantas Group suggested that Jetstar should be awarded the extra flights because they claimed to have lower average prices than Virgin Australia.
However, since the two airlines follow a different fare model, the comparison was not viable.
In a statement, Qantas’ Anna Pritchard wrote: “During the forward-looking 180-day period analyzed by Infare commencing 31 December 2023, Jetstar’s average fares are 37 percent and 32 percent lower than Virgin Australia’s Melbourne-Denpasar and Adelaide-Denpasar services.”
Editor-in-Cheif of the website Airline Ratings, Gregory Thomas, said it looks likely that Virgin Australia will come out tops.
He told Sky News Australia, “A lot of people would argue, particularly for Western Australia where there is no top quality airline flying to Bali with premium service, that a virgin product is what they want.”
“Which offers business class, and those sorts of products – so I think there is a very strong case for Virgin on this one.
He added, “From a market share perspective, Virgin should get the nod, and from a product offering perspective, I think also Virgin should get the nod.”
It remains to be seen who will win the Battle for Bali, though the odds are stacked in Virgin Australia’s favor.
Regardless, it is good news for Australian tourists who are planning their upcoming trips to Bali; there are about to be more flights available than ever to Denpasar. The new proposed flight services equate to 2,500 more seats every week.
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