Indonesian airline Citilink will launch flights from Melbourne’s Avalon Airport to Denpasar from 24 January 2020. The flights will operate daily using Airbus A320neo aircraft.
Citilink is a low-cost carrier owned by Garuda Indonesia. It began operating in 2001 as a regional carrier within Indonesia, and today operates a fleet of around 60 aircraft. The airline has already been flying from Perth to Denpasar since November 2019.
The new services from Avalon Airport to Denpasar will operate to the following schedule:
- QG561 Melbourne (AVV) 12:50 – Denpasar (DPS) 16:20
- QG560 Denpasar (DPS) 23:45 – Melbourne (AVV) 08:50 +1 day
The Citilink flights between Avalon and Bali are currently on sale for $289 one-way or $578 return. This is more expensive than Jetstar, so presumably, you’ll be able to pick up tickets for a lower price than this during sales.
It’s worth noting that, if you pay in Indonesian Rupiah, the price is only IDR2,500,000 each way. This is equivalent to $263 one-way in Australian Dollars, so you can save around $50 on a return trip by paying in the Indonesian currency if you’re using a credit card with no international transaction fees.
Although Citilink is officially a low-cost airline, flights between Australia and Indonesia include a free meal and drinks for all passengers. In-flight entertainment is not provided on board, but all passengers receive 20kg of checked baggage included with the fare. There is an option to add additional baggage on the Citilink website – which incidentally is terrible – at the time of booking:
Citilink does not offer Business class, but it does offer “Green Zone” seating for a small surcharge. The first five rows, as well as the two emergency exit rows (12 & 14) are designated as Green Zone seats. It costs an extra $15.58 per flight to choose a seat in row 1 or an exit row, which has more legroom. Rows 2-5 cost an extra $12.12 to select but do not have extra legroom. Otherwise, it costs $6.93 to choose a regular seat in advance. Note that exit row seats can only be purchased when checking in at the airport.
Bizarrely, at the time of writing, flights are currently only available for sale until 29 March 2020. Citilink has not yet filed schedules for travel beyond the end of March. We assume this will be done in the coming days.
The airline has stated that it’s aiming for a 70% load factor on its Avalon-Denpasar route. It seems unlikely that it will achieve this in the first few weeks or even months of operation, given flights are only going on sale two weeks before the service starts and they don’t seem to have launched any sales yet. (If you’re thinking about booking a trip to Bali in the coming month, this could mean that you have lots of space on board the flight to spread out!)
In the longer term, it could be difficult for the low-cost airline to capture market share on the busy Melbourne-Bali route. But it seems they will at least be carrying a decent amount of cargo on these flights.
Lots of airline choices between Melbourne and Bali
Citilink joins a long list of airlines that fly to Bali from Melbourne. Qantas, Garuda Indonesia and Malindo Air already offer daily flights from Tullamarine Airport to the popular Indonesian holiday destination, and Jetstar is currently flying 2-3 times per day using Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners. In addition, Virgin Australia will start daily Melbourne-Denpasar services at the end of March.
There have been rumours that Citilink could also be looking to launch flights from Gold Coast Airport to Bali after it accidentally filed a schedule for this route in the GDS. The airline also had public ambitions to launch low-cost flights from Jakarta to Frankfurt.
Another new airline for Avalon Airport
Citilink will be the second airline to offer direct international flights from Avalon Airport, located in Geelong, after Air Asia X. The Malaysian low-cost airline currently flies from Avalon to Kuala Lumpur twice per day.
Avalon Airport announced last October that it is also working with Vietjet Air to introduce direct flights to Ho Chi Minh City. A launch date has not yet been announced for these services.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Citilink to Avalon