Australia Bans its Citizens to Fly Lion Air after Crash

Indonesia, air transport, Lion Air, crash

Batik Air could be forced to stop flying to Australia if Australian ban on Lion Air remains.

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi plans to ask the Australian government to clarify its policy banning its citizens from travelling by Lion Air flight, following the crash of an aircraft last week. Indonesia considers the Australian government’s action discriminatory… 

“We will seek clarification since foreign parties have made adjustment about us,” he said in in the Presidential Palace compounds last Wednesday. The minister said he will meet Australian authorities to discuss the ban.

“Actually, the ban has a small impact because only a few Lion Air planes fly to Australia, while many of Lion Air`s international flights are to Singapore and Malaysia, he said. “But that is not the problem. It is a matter of reputation so we must seek clarification.” he added.

The Australian government promptly banned its citizens of flying with Lion Air flight after the airline company`s plane JT 610 crashed in Tanjung Karawang waters on Monday October 29. The Australian government said earlier it will review the ban after the cause of the plane crash is known based on the result of investigation. The aircraft carried 178 adults, three infants, and six crew members, a pilot and a co-pilot.

The decision could be a real blow however to the ambitions of Lion Air in Australia, especially on the very lucrative market Bali-Australia. SInce 2017, the Lion Air Group launched services from Denpasar to Brisbane and Perth, the first route being served by Malaysian affiliate Malindo while Perth is served twice daily with its full-service affiliate Batik Air. The group also launched a Melbourne-Denpasar-Kuala Lumpur flight in March 2018 also with its Malaysian subsidiary Malindo. The group has currently a market share of 13% of all the capacity between Australia and Bali, being the third largest operator on these routes.

The Australian ban will above all affect flights from Batik Air to Perth, Malindo being registered in Malaysia and following safety and maintenance standards of the Malaysian Civil Aviation.

The Lion Group full-service subsidiary Batik Air is seeking to launch several more Australia-Bali routes in 2019, using its future fleet of A321neoLR. They could then be indefinitely postponed if the Australian ban remains as most passengers on Bali-Australia routes are Australian citizens.

(Partial source: ANTARA News)