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Batik Air to begin Canberra–Bali flights in June

Canberra Airport is set to add a second post-pandemic international destination to its network after Batik Air announced it would fly from the ACT to Bali.

The Malaysian mid-market carrier – previously known as Malindo Air – will operate 737-800 services three times weekly and launch on 14 June 2024.

It will also open up more international connection options for Canberrans, with Denpasar currently hosting flights to 43 non-ANZ destinations.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said, “A direct flight between Bali and Canberra will greatly benefit holiday seekers from Canberran and the region.

“The route also presents a great opportunity to connect the Canberra region to South-East Asia for leisure, trade and education.”

It comes after Fiji Airways became the first airline to offer international flights outside of Canberra post-pandemic last July.

Bali has become one of Australia’s most popular international holiday destinations, with eight airlines flying there and load factors estimated at around 85 per cent. 

Australian Aviation reported last month how Qantas and Virgin are currently fighting for the right to operate extra services to Denpasar.

Qantas wants to start daily Jetstar services between Cairns–Melbourne–Denpasar and three flights per week between Adelaide–Perth–Denpasar using its new fleet of A321LRs.

Virgin, meanwhile, is planning two daily services from the Gold Coast and Adelaide to Bali, both via Perth, on 737-800s.

The International Air Services Commission (IASC) has to decide on a winner as there isn’t enough capacity to service both airlines’ ambitions.

Already, the TWU and FAAA have backed Virgin alongside the ACCC.

In an official submission to the IASC, the consumer watchdog argued that Virgin’s application would bolster competition on routes from Australia to Bali and give passengers more choice for airfares and service offerings.

“This proposal would introduce Australian competition between Perth and Denpasar, as well as reduce Jetstar’s dominance on services between Adelaide and Denpasar,” wrote ACCC general manager Katie Young.

“It would also introduce competition for domestic connections between Gold Coast and Perth.

“The ACCC anticipates that this new competition would likely result in better outcomes for passengers through lower prices and improved services.”

Jetstar is currently the only Australian carrier that flies between Perth and Denpasar, which it does approximately three times per day, and Qantas’ proposal would give it a further five flights per week; in contrast, Virgin would operate 14 flights per week between the two destinations.