Although the Indonesian Government has declared that effective 14 October 2021, Bali’s Airport reopens for international flights from at least five overseas locales, hopeful members of the Island’s tourism industry are best advised not to hurriedly stand by with bouquets, garlands, and flora leis with which to welcome foreign visitors.
As reported by NusaBali.com, PT Angkasa Pura I (PT PAP) – the management company for Bali’s air gateway, says they are no pending requests for flight slots from airlines eager to exploit the chance to be the first air carrier to resume international flights to Bali. This lack of action or enthusiasm to fly to Bali also includes a lack of requests from Indonesian airlines to operate an international flight direct to Bali.
The Director of Operations for PT Angkasa Pura I, Wendo Asrul Rose, told the press that while the Airport is fully ready to welcome international flights, no airline has registered a request for any of the many open flight slots.
Explaining the failure to restart international flight to Bali or, for that matter, even the receipt of any request from an airline to do so, Asrul Rose said: “Our friends in the airlines need time to commercialize (their activities) and tell their customers that the Ngurah Rai Airport is now open. For that reason, no one has requested a flight slot.”
Asrul Rose said PT PAP has a schedule in hand for the resumption of international flights in 2021. Saying coordination is underway with international airlines, he added: “While there may be no commercial flights (at present), there may be charter flights operating soon, but at a time that cannot yet be fixed.”
Asrul Rose underlined that Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport was “very ready” to handle international flights. This readiness was demonstrated in arriving flight simulations conducted at the Airport in cooperation with the local Government in Bali.
Speaking separately on Monday, 10 October 2021, three days before the “official” reopening date, the Stakeholder Relations Manager of PT PAP, Taufan Yudhistira, confirmed that no airline had requested an international flight slot.
Taufan said it was impossible to predict when airlines would begin requesting international flight slots in Bali. As operators of Bali’s sole international Airport, he said PT PAP was waiting for regulations to be issued in connection with the reopening of Bali to international travel from the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.
“None of these regulations have yet to be provided,” added Yudihistira.
Many industry observers express doubts that international flights will resume to Bali until rules restricting travel in source countries are loosened and as long as mandatory quarantine rules remain in place in Indonesia.