Darwin to Bali airfares expected to drop, as Virgin Australia announces new route
NT Airports chief executive officer Ian Kew said the move was expected to reduce ticket prices. (ABC News: Tom Maddocks)
A new air service between Darwin and Bali during peak season next year is expected to drive down airfares for travellers on the popular holiday route.
- The new service will run between Darwin and Bali three times a week from April 2019 until October
- Currently Jetstar is the only airline that flies from Darwin to Bali
- The NT Government said it was not subsidising the carrier but would help promote the route
Virgin Australia’s seasonal service between the Top End and the island destination will start in April 2019 and will run three times a week until October.
The announcement comes a year after budget carrier AirAsia axed flights because of a restructure and losses caused by volcanic activity at Mount Agung.
It left Jetstar the sole carrier servicing the route.
Northern Territory Airports chief executive officer Ian Kew said Virgin’s competition with Jetstar was expected to reduce ticket prices.
“We believe Virgin’s new service will have a competitive impact on airfares and we would expect them to be lower once Virgin starts the service than what they have been in more recent times,” Mr Kew said.
Mr Kew said he believed the new route could open up the inbound tourism market for international travellers, following recent figures showing visitor numbers to the NT have dived more than anywhere else nationally.
“People that are in Bali that can extend their European holiday to the Top End but also there is a large expat market in Bali that we think would love to escape two-and-a-half hours away and come to Kakadu and the Top End,” he said.
It is hoped the seasonal service will become permanent and operate year-round.
NT Tourism Minister Lauren Moss said she was confident there would be enough demand for the new service, adding that the Government was not subsidising the carrier.
“We’ll be embarking on cooperative marketing with airline partners and other key travel agents … to make sure we’re promoting this route,” Ms Moss said.
Four months after a “game-changing” direct flight between Darwin and China was launched, Federal Government statistics revealed flights between Shenzhen and the tropical city were less than half-full, attracting criticism that the Government had oversold the benefits of the service.
Flights from Darwin to Kuala Lumpur and Manila were also axed in recent years.
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