FRESH HOPE FOR BALI

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - VIC­TO­RIA NU­GENT vic­to­ria. nu­gent@ news. com. au

OTHER air­lines could move to fill the gap left by the ax­ing of Jet­star’s Bali to Townsville ser­vice.

And Sen­a­tor Ian Macdon­ald was aware of an air­line he would not name “look­ing at pick­ing up Townsville to Bali and be­yond”.

“I know that peo­ple look­ing at it,” he said.

“Their in­ter­est is enough for them to do some cal­cu­la­tions.”

The start of the Bali flights in 2015 came af­ter the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment agreed to pro­vide fund­ing to es­tab­lish Aus­tralian Bor­der Force ser­vices in Townsville over four years.

The de­ci­sion came af­ter cus­toms and quar­an­tine charges proved a stick­ing point in ne­go­ti­a­tions with Jet­star about the route.

A De­part­ment of Im­mi­gra­tion and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion spokesman said the Aus­tralian Bor­der Force would con­tinue to pro­vide clear­ance ser­vices at Townsville In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Sen­a­tor Macdon­ald said the gov­ern­ment fund­ing would con­tinue but at­tract­ing fur­ther in­ter­na­tional ser­vices was im­por­tant.

“The idea was, af­ter four years it would be self- suf­fi­cient but this has put that back a few years,” he said.

“Cer­tainly it’s not sus­tain­able with just one.

“I al­ways thought that by it­self Bali was un­sus­tain­able.

“It’s a one- way mar­ket, the Ba­li­nese are not able or aren’t in­ter­ested in com­ing to Townsville.”

Sen­a­tor Macdon­ald are said Bul­letin he would urge peo­ple to con­tinue to us­ing the Jet­star ser­vice up un­til it ceases in March next year.

“Jet­star may re­alise they’ve made a mis­take,” he said.

Townsville En­ter­prise chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Patricia O’Cal­laghan said the re- gion was “con­tin­u­ing our dis­cus­sions with a num­ber of air car­ri­ers on do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional routes”.

“We will con­tinue to work with our stake­hold­ers to build the busi­ness case and con­vert th­ese dis­cus­sions into re­al­ity,” she said.

Townsville Air­port chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Kevin Gill said their busi­ness, de­vel­op­ment and mar­ket­ing team would con­tinue to work with air­line part­ners on fu­ture do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Ob­vi­ously the loss of Bali is dis­ap­point­ing given the ser­vice’s pop­u­lar­ity with Townsville lo­cals,” he said. “Our re­cent pas­sen­ger num­ber re­sults are en­cour­ag­ing and we re­main com­mit­ted to work­ing with our air­line part­ners to build on ex­ist­ing ca­pac­ity, such as our new Tig­erair ser­vices.

“The Bali ser­vices will con­tinue to op­er­ate un­til March 2018 and we urge con­tinue to use it.”

AirAsia also had ne­go­ti­a­tions with Townsville Air­port in 2014 about the Bali route.

When con­tacted by the Bul­letin yes­ter­day Air Asia wouldn’t com­ment on whether it would con­sider run­ning a Townsville to Bali route. lo­cals to

How the has cov­ered the story.

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