Aviation

Virgin Won’t Save Tigerair’s Bali Flights

Hannah Edensor

On Friday, budget carrier Tigerair announced it was cancelling all its flights in and out of Bali, much to the dismay of Aussies everywhere, and now parent company Virgin Australia has admitted it won’t be picking up the slack.

The airlines failed to gain regulatory approval from the Indonesian government to operate out of Denpasar airport, with Indonesian authorities on Friday saying they would not be providing Tigerair with “final approval”.

Tigerair confirmed all passengers with flights booked to Bali will receive full refunds, while Virgin Australia would assist those stranded in Bali right now to make alternative travel arrangements.

But if you thought Virgin might swoop in and save the day by picking up where Tigerair left off, that won’t be the case.

According to Crikey, Virgin Australia-operated flights to Denpasar from Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth were declared unsustainable for the airline’s full service operations, so last year Tiger took them over.

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told the publication, “Virgin Australia has no plans to operate the Bali routes from which Tigerair Australia has withdrawn.”

According to the ABC, refunds to travellers with booked flights could take a while too.

Consumer protection authorities have warned passengers that refunds could take up to a month to be processed, with Consumer Protection WA acting director of retail and services Lanie Chopping advising passengers to speak to their travel insurance companies to see what their policies are surrounding this unexpected change.

“People who have purchased by credit card are actually able to go back to their bank and seek what’s called a chargeback,” she added.

On Friday, Tigerair’s CEO Rob Sharp issued a statement which read:

“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,” he said.

“Providing a reliable, low-cost service is critical for Tigerair Australia and our customers, and therefore our only option is to withdraw from flying to Bali altogether. We will continue to work with Virgin Australia to support any passengers still in Bali and needing to travel home to Australia. We will also provide full refunds to customers who were booked to travel to and from Bali with us.

“Again, we sincerely apologise to our customers who have been caught up in this and we will continue to work around the clock to support them as best we can.”

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