Virgin Australia Dismisses Qantas' Request for More Info on TigerAir Flying to Bali

22nd Sep 2015

Virgin Australia applied to the International Air Services Commission early in September, looking to transfer some of the routes from VAI (Virgin Australia International) to its low-cost subsidiary TigerAir Australia.

Among these services was also Bali, which for the rival airline Qantas was a queue to start an alarm as they have just announced their first Sydney-Bali seasonal service over the summer.

As a result, Qantas explained in a submission it delivered to the IASC that:

"Questions remain about the basis upon which the VAI subsidiary can meet the various requirements necessary to utilize an allocation of capacity. Clarification and support for the assertion that the unnamed subsidiary is actually an 'Australian carrier' and that it is reasonably likely to obtain the necessary approvals and licenses to operate the relevant capacity is necessary for a complete assessment of the application to be made."

This has met with a quick response from Virgin, in which the airline said they have met all the necessary requirements under the relevant legislation.

Jane McKeon, Virgin Australia's group exec in charge of government relations said Qantas' submission shows:

"A lack of understanding of both the relevant legislative framework and the respective roles and responsibilities of the Commission and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development."

She also added:

"There is no requirement in the Commission's legislative framework that compels such applications to disclose the name of the wholly-owned subsidiary/subsidiaries for which flexibility in relation to the use of the capacity has been sought. In this case, the capacity will be utilized by TigerAir for the operation of services between points in Australia and Denpasar, as the Commission is well aware."

Virgin has also criticized the Commission for accepting their rival's submission (on 17th September, 2015), even though the deadline for this had been breached, saying:

"It remains unclear to Virgin Australia why the Commission decided to accept Qantas' submission of 17th September instead of proceeding directly to make a decision on 14th September, given Qantas' failure to lodge a notice on intention to lodge a submission by 5 p.m. on 11th September."