The battle for Bali erupts

It seems two Aussie carriers have opted for ringside seats to their own fight this week over capacity between Australia and Bali.

QANTAS and Virgin Australia are currently duking it out over 172 weekly seats up for grabs on the popular Indonesian route, with the International Air Services Commission (IASC) today releasing the cases made by both airlines as to why they should be ones awarded the added bandwidth.

Despite operating a 20,076 seats out of the current 25,000 weekly major Australian airport seats on offer, the Flying Kangaroo is adamant that the extra capacity should be given to them so it can upgauge selected services from Boeing 737 aircraft to Airbus 330 aircraft during periods of high demand.

However, VA pointed out that the added seats are critical to its plan to ramp up services to Bali, stating its ambition to introduce flights seven days a week between MEL and DPS is contingent on approval of the sought capacity.

“Critically, once VA commences the additional MEL-DPS service, it will be fully utilising its capacity for the remainder of the northern winter 2022 season as well as the entire northern summer 2023 season, rather than being focused on peak periods and upgauging capacity when demand suits,” VA said in its submission.

For its part, Qantas is relying on its record to get its claim over the line, arguing that its history of successfully operating Bali routes at high load capacities should be reason enough to award the 172 additional seats to them instead.

“Qantas has demonstrated its ability to efficiently utilise capacity on the Indonesia route, with an average seat utilisation of 88.6% in 2019, and Jetstar was the only other carrier with a higher average seat utilisation, clearly demonstrating that the Qantas Group has been more successful in filling our aircraft with passengers travelling between the two countries than any other carrier operating between Australia and Indonesia,” Qantas said.

VA currently holds 4,752 seats per week on the Indonesian route, representing around 19% of the market, with the airline claiming that for its business to provide a competitive alternative for travellers to Bali, it requires a bigger share of the market.

“As it stands, Virgin Australia’s share of capacity on the Indonesia route is significantly disproportionate to that held by the Qantas Group, operating Qantas and Jetstar services,” VA said.

Interested parties have until 11 October to weigh in the submissions.




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