First Sydney-Bali flight in 2 years arrives as Garuda Indonesia resumes route

Singapore Airlines flight SQ938 ⁠— the airline’s first plane to touch down in Bali in nearly 2 years ⁠— given a water salute at the Ngurah Rai Airport on Feb. 16, 2022. Photo: Video screengrab from Instagram/@protocol_act
Singapore Airlines flight SQ938 ⁠— the airline’s first plane to touch down in Bali in nearly 2 years ⁠— given a water salute at the Ngurah Rai Airport on Feb. 16, 2022. Photo: Video screengrab from Instagram/@protocol_act

As more and more international tourists arrive in Bali ever since the island reopened to all nationalities in early February, flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has officially resumed its Sydney-Bali route with the first flight in two years landing at Ngurah Rai International Airport today carrying 61 Australian citizens.

The Indonesian Consul General for Sydney, Vedi Kurnia Buana, said that his office immediately worked together with Garuda following the announcement that Bali was reopening for international flights.

After bidding farewell to the Garuda passengers earlier today, Vedi said that all who boarded the flight, Indonesians and Australians alike, were delighted that Bali is finally open for direct flights.

“The Indonesian government very much appreciates this because under current circumstances they still want to have a vacation in Bali. That means, even though there’s still a 3-day quarantine requirement, they still go [to the island],” he said.

Vedi was referring to a 3-day quarantine requirement for international visitors upon arriving in Bali. Recently, the Indonesian government announced that quarantine requirements in Bali would likely be erased in mid-March (or sooner) as they plan to lift quarantine requirements for Indonesia as a whole on April 1.

Last weekend, Bali Governor Wayan Koster said that his office would support the resumption of Sydney-Bali flights as a way to lift tourism businesses on the island that have been devastated by the pandemic.

Australian nationals have traditionally been among the top tourists in Bali with 1.2 million out of 26 million Australians visiting the island every year before the pandemic, according to Vedi. In other words, four out of 100 Australians traveled to Bali each year before the island closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

In addition, the Australian government imposed travel restrictions toward their own citizens throughout much of the pandemic.

Garuda Indonesia’s first Sydney-Bali flight arrived around 3.45pm today at the Bali airport before flying back to Sydney via Jakarta. The I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar resumed operations today after being shut down during Nyepi or Day of Silence yesterday.

In addition to Garuda, Australia’s Jetstar Airways has also announced that they would soon announce a direct flight to Bali.

According to reports, Jetstar Airways is scheduled to restart its Melbourne-Bali on March 14, while its Sydney-Bali flight is scheduled for March 15.

Jetstar Asia, part of the Jetstar Group, has officially resumed their flights between Singapore and Denpasar after a two-year break with their first landing earlier today

Read also: Singapore Airlines lands in Bali for the first time in 2 years, carrying 156 passengers

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