Indonesia AirAsia X Delays Inaugural Australian Flight

January 21, 2015

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Long-haul budget carrier Indonesia AirAsia X has delayed indefinitely the launch of its inaugural flight between Bali and Melbourne after failing to get the approval of Australian regulators.

Approvals were not forthcoming partly due to Australian concerns about Indonesia's aviation safety record, especially after a plane operated by sister airline Indonesia AirAsia crashed last month, said a person familiar with the situation.

Indonesia AirAsia X, an affiliate of Malaysian long-haul budget airline AirAsia X, started selling tickets for flights between Denpasar, the capital of Bali, and Melbourne on October 28.

The airline said on Tuesday that an "unforeseen delay in acquiring confirmation from a third party" led to the delay.

Indonesia AirAsia X said that it was working with Indonesia's Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to complete the "administration process" as soon as possible, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Indonesia's patchy airline safety record has been in the spotlight after the Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320 crashed into the Java Sea on December 28, killing all 162 people on board.

In 2007 the European Commission banned all Indonesia-based airlines from flying to the European Union after a series of accidents. Exemptions to that ban have since been granted to some carriers, including Garuda Indonesia and Indonesia AirAsia.

However Indonesia AirAsia X, which was set up only last year, is on the EU list.

Indonesia's transport minister on Tuesday proposed several changes to improve aviation safety standards in the country.

(Reuters)