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Low-cost carrier launches daily flights to Bali

The cost of flights to Bali should drop because of this new player.

The cost of flights to Bali should drop because of this new player. Photo: Getty, Batik Air, TND

Indonesian low-cost airline Batik Air has launched daily flights from Melbourne and Sydney to Bali, a move that experts say could slash the cost of flying to the popular destination.

The first flight departed Sydney on January 5 with 138 passengers on board, while on the Melbourne to Bali flight, the airline carried 140 passengers to Denpasar.

The New Daily found return Batik Air flights to Denpasar available in late January from $1175 per person.

Aviation and tourism experts told TND that the introduction of a new player into the market could force down the cost of airfares.

“It’s really quite expensive to travel to Bali … which suggests that there is really good demand for flights over there,” said Professor Rico Merkert, chair in transport and supply chain management at the University of Sydney.

“These guys should help [bring prices down].”

Gordon Tanner, national sales and marketing manager for travel agent Bali Tours, told TND that demand was “absolutely” high enough to justify daily flights to Denpasar.

He said Batik Air was well positioned to capitalise on that demand.

“I’m certain of that. I mean, some people have their loyalties to [particular airlines] don’t forget, but customers will be guided by the frequency, the timing, and the reliability of the airline,” Mr Tanner said.

“Since we came out of lockdown tourism and travel to Bali has come back with a vengeance.

“It’s an affordable destination and when those fares come down it will be even more attractive as people get back to enjoying Bali like they did before the pandemic.”

Batik Air has been flying from Perth to Denpasar since 2017 – the new routes will open up the possibility of a tropical getaway for residents on the east coast.

Batik Air is owned by Indonesia’s largest privately run airline, Lion Air.

Professor Merkert said the low-cost carrier will compete with Garuda Indonesia rather than try and muscle in on local players.

He said passengers may enjoy a slightly better service when flying with Batik Air than Jetstar.

“Jetstar, Lion Air, Ryanair – these are all ultra-low-cost carriers.

“Essentially, you just purchase a seat, and there’s no comfort. It’s all about the low cost.

“Batik Air seem to be pitching slightly higher but still at a reasonably decent cost … passengers will potentially get a slightly better service than compared to Jetstar.”

The new services are also good news for business travellers and holidaymakers looking to travel to other Indonesian cities, with customers able to book onward travel to 18 other locations across the nation’s network of islands.

Professor Merkert said the service will particularly appeal to “young, independent professionals” whose biggest concern when booking flights is cost.

Bali is a versatile destination and attracts a wide array of travellers. Photo: Getty

Australia’s love affair with Bali

Australians have a long-term love affair with Bali, and demand is coming back.

According to market and consumer data company Statista, as of September, Australia was the largest market for direct foreign tourist arrivals to Bali in 2022.

Last year, Australian tourists visited Bali more than tourists from any other country, making about 352,000 visits to the island.

“Bali has always relied on tourism as their No.1 economic driver. Speaking to our people on the ground, there’s a real feeling that tourism is back,’’ ANZ Intrepid Travel managing director Brett Mitchell told TND.

“From a bookings perspective, 11 per cent more Australians have booked trips to Bali this year compared to 2019.”

Tourism experts told TND that Australians love Bali because of the short flight, the culture, the beaches and the food.

“Bali is a versatile destination and attracts a wide array of travellers,” Mr Mitchell said.

“Almost half of our customers booking a Bali getaway are solo travellers, followed by couples and families respectively.

“Interestingly, we’ve seen strong growth in the number of families booking trips compared to pre-pandemic, with a 51 per cent increase versus 2019.”

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