Airport operators were preparing last night for today’s 24-hour strike by Australian Border Force workers at Australia’s international airports. The strike coincides with flight disruptions from Bali’s persistent volcanic ash cloud, curtailing travel to and from Bali. Details of that below.
The 24-hour strike hit Australia’s eight international airports from midnight this morning. (See earlier story: Australian airports face 24-hour strike next Monday). It also affects Australia’s maritime ports.
The all-day industrial action is an escalation of 10 days of rolling two-hour stoppages that caused disruption to international air passengers and businesses in September.
Qantas has emailed outbound international passengers departing from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Cairns airports asking them to arrive earlier than usual for their flights today. Virgin Australia has asked international passengers to arrive at the airport three hours before departure because of expected processing delays.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) accuses the government of trying to cut workers’ pay by AUD 8000 a year. CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “These Border Force officers work on the front line in keeping Australia safe and they take no pleasure in disrupting travellers’ plans. They’re giving up a day’s pay to strike because the Federal Government and the Department are not listening to them and are continuing to push unreasonable cuts to rights, conditions and take-home pay.”
THEN THERE’S THE VOLCANIC ASH CLOUD. Issuing from Mt Rinjani on Lombok, next to Bali, the ash plume continues to drift toward flight paths. On a brighter note, Jetstar is offering Bali-bound passengers the chance to switch to Hawaii free of charge.
Virgin Australia reported yesterday evening that the latest advice from its team of meteorologists, senior pilots and the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre was that conditions in the vicinity of Bali’s Denpasar Airport had deteriorated.
Jetstar was similarly affected over the weekend, as was AirAsia.
Virgin Australia flights cancelled to and from Denpasar (Bali) today, Monday 9 November 2015:
VA65 SYD-DPS STD 1120
VA41 BNE-DPS STD 1010
VA55 PER-DPS STD 0850
VA49 MEL-DPS STD 0915
Virgin Australia flights under review to and from Denpasar (Bali) on Monday 9 November 2015:
VA34 DPS-ADL STD 1310
VA33 ADL-DPS STD 1705
VA46 DPS-BNE STD 2110
VA54 DPS-MEL STD 2230
VA64 DPS-SYD STD 0010 (Next day scheduled departure – 10 November)
“Virgin Australia will continue to assess the ability to fly passengers between Australia and Denpasar over the coming days. As Mt Rinjani continues to erupt and flying conditions remain unpredictable over the next few days, Virgin Australia has offered passengers who have not yet commenced their journeys to Bali a number of alternative holiday destinations.”
The Virgin “change destination” offer comes without change fees or fare difference being charged. A different destination must be chosen within 30 days of original travel. Alternative destinations include Port Vila (Vanuatu), Nadi (Fiji), Apia (Samoa), Phuket (Thailand), Cairns, Darwin, Hamilton Island, Broome, Whitsunday Coast, Gold Coast, Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast.
Updates will be provided in consultation with the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.
For the latest Virgin Australia updates, check: http://www.virginaustralia.com/au/en/bookings/flight-status/travel-alerts/
MEANWHILE, Jetstar was forced yesterday to cancel some rescheduled daylight flights because of conditions around Denpasar.
Sunday’s flights JQ44 Bali-Melbourne and JQ107 Bali-Perth were cancelled when the aircraft operating the services had to divert away from Denpasar Airport as forecast conditions deteriorated during the flight from Australia.
Flight JQ109 Bali-Perth and JQ117 Bali-Perth were able to depart successfully yesterday before the change in conditions.
Jetstar is assessing the situation today and will provide an update by noon.
The airline is now offering customers in Australia the chance to change their travel destination free of charge – to head for Hawaii instead of Bali, for instance. The list of alternative destinations includes Fiji (Nadi), Thailand (Phuket), Hawaii (Honolulu), New Zealand (Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington), Australia (Adelaide, Avalon, Ballina Byron, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Hamilton Island, Hobart, Launceston, Mackay, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Townsville, Uluru – Ayers Rock, Whitsunday Coast).
The latest Jetstar information can be seen here: http://www.jetstar.com/au/en/travel-alerts
Air Asia issued the following list yesterday of disruptions and cancellations:
Below is the list of AirAsia flights that have been cancelled:
1. QZ 7516 Jakarta – Bali
2. QZ 7517 Bali – Jakarta
3. XT 7534 Jakarta – Bali
4. XT 7519 Bali – Jakarta
5. XT 7621 Bali – Surabaya
6. XT 802 Bali – Melbourne
7. XT 803 Melbourne – Bali
Below is the list of AirAsia flights that have been diverted:
1. QZ 509 Singapore – Bali, diverted to Jakarta
2. QZ 555 Kuala Lumpur – Bali, diverted to Jakarta
3. QZ 537 Perth – Bali, diverted to Surabaya
Below is the list of AirAsia flights that have been rescheduled:
1. AK 376 Kuala Lumpur – Bali
2. AK 377 Bali – Kuala Lumpur
3. AK 378 Kuala Lumpur – Bali
4. AK 379 Bali – Kuala Lumpur
5. AK 374 Kuala Lumpur – Bali
6. AK 375 Bali – Kuala Lumpur
7. XT 803D Melbourne – Bali
AirAsia said it would notify passengers of their updated flight status and the options available to them.
“AirAsia will continue to provide further updates on www.airasia.com and social media pages,” the carrier said.
For further information and assistance, guests can contact AirAsia through the following channels:
- Indonesia’s call centre at +6221 2927 0999 or 0804 1 333 333 (24 hours); Australia’s call centre at +61 2 8188 2133 (9 a.m. – 6 p.m. GMT+10)
- Ask AirAsia on www.airasia.com/ask
- Send your question through online form available at http://www.airasia.com/id/en/e-form.page
- Live Chat (available on Ask AirAsia when you login using AirAsia ID).
Written by Peter Needham