Australian Airlines adding Bali, eyes China and Malaysia

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Qantas Airways’ leisure subsidiary Australian Airlines has unveiled an expansion of its services in Australia and Asia now that it has secured leases on another two Boeing 767-300s.

On 25 July it will begin flights from Australia to Denpasar (Bali) in Indonesia and then in October it wants to start flying to Shanghai in China and the East Malaysian city of Kota Kinabalu.

In addition, Australian Airlines will start flying Cairns-Sydney return so its international passengers have a connecting service to the Australian business capital.

With the push into Bali, the Cairns-based carrier will have three flights a week from Sydney and Denpasar and one flight a week from Melbourne and Denpasar.

A Qantas spokesman says some of the flights will continue on to Singapore and some will also return to Sydney and Melbourne via Denpasar but not all. The details on how many flights will continue to Singapore and how many will return via Denpasar have yet to be finalised.

The spokesman also says Qantas will stop flying on the Sydney-Denpasar route when Australian Airlines starts. Qantas stopped flying on the Melbourne-Denpasar route soon after the 12 October nightclub bombings in Bali last year.

With the Cairns-Sydney route, Australian Airlines plans to have six return flights a week.

“These flights will enable us to offer seamless transits at Cairns International Airport for our inbound passengers travelling from Asia and Japan,” Australian Airlines CEO Denis Adams says in a statement.

“These services will be international flights, arriving and departing from international terminals at Sydney and Cairns airports.”

He also points out that Australian Airlines has had preliminary discussions with Sabah state authorities in Malaysia about launching a Cairns-Kota Kinabalu-Singapore route and that Australian Airlines’ push into Shanghai comes about two years after Qantas stopped flying to mainland China.

Australian Airlines, which only flies 767-300s in all-economy class configurations, will take delivery of the additional aircraft in late July. The Qantas spokesman is not able to say from where the aircraft are being leased.

The carrier launched services in October with four 767s and has said the fleet will increase to 12 aircraft within two years. It now flies between Cairns and the Japanese cities of Fukuoka, Nagoya and Osaka, as well as Taipei in Taiwan, plus Hong Kong and Singapore. It also operates connecting flights between Cairns and the Gold Coast.