Local News

President says airlines must lower sky-high domestic air fare or he will invite foreign airlines to fly local air routes

Apparently fed up with the widespread destruction being heaped upon Indonesia’s tourism industry by recent sharp increases in air fares and the failure of Indonesia’s airline to keep their promise to reduce their ticket prices, President Joko Widodo has taken the unprecedented move of threatening to retaliate by allowing foreign airlines to start operating domestic routes. In response, the Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi was quoted by Tempo as saying on Friday, May 31, 2019: “Yes, the President’s idea is very good. We will seriously study the proposal. God willing, it can be implemented.”

Budi Karya views the current impasse with the national airline industry as an opportunity for Indonesia to open its air space to foreign carriers. The Minister of Transportation revealed that, under the current rules, in order for foreign airlines to operate in Indonesia the airline would need to register as an Indonesian company and seek 51% Indonesian ownership before operations commenced. Budi Karya accepts the President’s reasoning that one way to lower prices is to increase the level of competition. [Bali Update June 11, 2019]


Tragic death of older Australian in Bali underlines the importance of travel safety

Riding a scooter or motorbike might seem like a fun, harmless way to explore Bali, but it can end disastrously. Last week, we learned the tragic news of an Australian man’s death. The 59-year-old, identified as Peter Robinson, was killed after he lost control of his scooter and slid under a passing truck just before 5pm on Friday, news.com.au reported. The man suffered fatal head injuries and died at the scene. A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) spokesperson told Travel at 60 they are providing assistance to the family of an Australian man who passed away in Indonesia.

The sad news comes less than three months after another Australian man, Frankie Avalon Fonohema, 27, was killed riding a scooter on the popular Indonesian Island. According to the government’s Smartraveller website, motorcycle accidents involving Australians are very common in Southeast Asia, particularly in areas such as Bali, Thailand and Vietnam. Smartraveller notes some insurance policies will not cover you if you have an accident using a vehicle you are not licensed to drive. The website also advices that it’s important Australian travellers wear helmets, and other protective clothing when riding motorcycles, scooters and mopeds overseas in order to minimise the risk of serious injury.

Meanwhile, a DFAT spokesperson previously told Adelaide Now, “the most common reasons for illness or hospitalisation amongst young people who travel to Bali are injuries due to motorbike accidents”. [Starts at 60 June 9, 2019]


Klungkung will charge fee to foreigners visiting Nusa Penida

Klungkung District Government plans to charge a fee soon to foreign tourists who go to Nusa Penida. Klungkung Regent, I Nyoman Suwirta, and Tourism Board officers will meet fast boat and other transport owners to socialize the decision today, Monday. “We will socialize it on Monday as the final step in the process,” said the Head of Klungkung Tourism Board, I Nengah Sukasta, to tribunnews.com on Sunday. “We hope we could apply the regulation to charge the fee to foreign tourists who go to Nusa Penida this month.” The fee will be charged as a recreational area retribution, which is regulated by Klungkung District Regional Regulation number 5 of 2019 about Recreational and Sport areas. Every adult foreign tourist will be charged Rp 25,000, while children will be charged Rp 15,000.  The fee will be charged on arrival at all Nusa Penida ports. There hasn’t been any fee charged before to Nusa Penida and the Klungkung District Government targeted Rp 7 billion for the regional coffers from the expected 543,979 tourist visits in 2019. The money gathered will be used to build infrastructure on the island. [Seminyak Times June 3, 2019]


Garuda and Lion Air suffering millions in losses due to grounding of Boeing 737-Max 8

Tempo.co says the Lion Air Group has lost some US$20 million during the worldwide grounding of its 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8 following the crash of two B737-MAX 8 in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Calculating the cost of the grounding of 10 aircraft, the Lion Air Group Operations Director, Daniel Putut, said: “It comes up to around (US$20 million).” Garuda Indonesia, with only one Boeing 737 Max 8 grounded estimates that have lost US$2 million.

Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry will have to authorize the operation of the disgraced aircraft type in the country’s air space before Lion Air and Garuda can once again fly the B737-Max 8. That approval, realistically, will only come after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) declares the aircraft airworthy again, a date that could still be months away. “To upgrade the fleet, we must obtain a seal of approval from FAA. If the FAA has agreed to it, and our regulator must follow its decision. We are waiting for the process to play out. As the operator, we wait for the regulator’s decision,” Puput stated. [Bali Update June 11, 2019]


Bali governor set to issue new regulation delineating separate areas of operation for online and metered taxis

Bali Governor I Wayan Koster said he will soon issue a regulation to organize the operations of conventional and online taxi companies on the island as the provincial government seeks to resolve the ongoing disputes  between the two sides. But observers warn the regulation could lead to more conflict and worse options for customers. “The Pergub (Governor Regulation) will organize areas of operation, determining which areas online taxis are permitted to operate in and we will work closely with taxi community organizations as well,” Wayan said, as quoted in a report from Bali Post. This move seeks to avoid clashes between conventional and online taxis, and to allow the former to preserve their operational bases, which were established long before ride-hailing services arrived on the island.

Though the Indonesian Transportation Ministry already has regulations on online taxi services in place, Wayan said Bali’s tourism industry sets the province apart from the rest of the country. He expressed a commitment to support conventional taxi companies, according to Bali Post. Koster said his new regulation would also require online taxi drivers to provide Bali identity cards and drive cars with Bali license plates.

While it makes sense for the local government to try and appease conventional taxi drivers, who feel like they’re unfairly losing business due to the arrival of online taxis, it remains to be seen how this move could benefit consumers, particularly considering that conventional taxis in Bali tend to charge higher prices. “If this regulation were to be implemented, conventional transportation will monopolize further and grow more arrogant with their prices, because they won’t have any more competition,” Aryanto, director of Jayamahe Transport, a Bali-based transportation service, told Tribun-Bali. Aryanto added that the governor’s new regulation has the potential to conflict with other existing regulations in the country, including a 1999 law targeting monopolies and unfair   business practices. Bali has seen a number of clashes between regular metered taxi drivers and those working for ride-hailing apps over the years. In March, a clash       was recorded on video, capturing an altercation between a Grab employee and a gang of airport taxi drivers. [Coconuts Bali May 28, 2019]