"With extreme regret" Garuda Indonesia has announced a decision to postpone its return to the Brisbane-Bali route until further notice.
Senior General Manager Australia & Southwest Pacific, Poerwoko Soeparyono stated that, despite an acknowledged over-capacity on the route, Garuda Indonesia had remained committed to bringing a full-service Bali option to Queenslanders. Poerwoko explained: "However, an unforeseen focus on travel warnings against Bali and the gloomy economic environment has impacted on incremental business over Christmas and dampened forward booking activity."
"We are confident that the lull in Bali bookings is temporary and that the value of this popular holiday destination will reassert itself when, after the festive season, Australians begin to consider their holidays plans for 2009. However, unlike our competitors, a resumption of Brisbane Bali services will require Garuda Indonesia to establish a new office, appoint new staff and enter new operations contracts, all of which represent a significant investment."
"Given the global crisis and the devaluation of the Australian dollar which impacts significantly on our revenue, Garuda Indonesia's Board of Directors has determined that it is not an appropriate time to make such an investment."
"Of course we are very disappointed by the circumstances that have prompted this decision and we sincerely hope that the industry, and our customers, will understand. As with all carriers operating in this present economic environment, commercially prudent if unpalatable decisions must be made."
“Having recently returned to profitable operation, our first priority must be to maintain our financial stability which, in the longer term, will place us in a stronger position to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves in the future."
Passengers currently booked on Garuda Indonesia flights from Brisbane to Bali will be accommodated on the nearest available alternative flight, with the aim of reducing any inconvenience to their customers.
The View from Garuda Orient Holidays
When balidiscovery.com contacted Nick Deacock, Product Manager, for Garuda Orient Holidays the wholesaling arm of Garuda based in Sydney, he painted an optimistic future picture, saying: "In the current climate, with economic conditions and consumer confidence suffering for various reasons, global tourism is going through a period of 'hesitation' while travelers assess their options. The Australian economy is generally in good shape, and Bali remains an extremely affordable holiday destination. I see Australian tourism to Bali surviving much better than many other destinations in general, and traditional long-haul destinations in particular. However Bali will no doubt face serious competition from its traditional, high-spending, promotionally-active neighbors fighting for a bigger share of the reduced tourism pie over the immediate future.
Reflecting on the record-setting performance for Australia to Bali travel in 2008, Deacock added: "2008 saw huge and sustained growth in demand for Bali from Australia. Garuda's move to thrice daily services from Perth, increases in frequency from Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin, and the much needed resumption of services from Brisbane reflect the importance shown to its Australian market. Garuda Orient Holidays has yet again achieved record sales for Bali this year, made possible by GA's increased capacity. The decision to postpone GA's Brisbane services cannot have been taken lightly."
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