Australian airline Jetstar has temporarily suspended the sale of travel tickets between Darwin and Denpasar due to repairs at Darwin Airport.
Jetstar has confirmed the decision following a lack of clarity regarding the development schedule at the airport.
“We are temporarily halting the sale of tickets for direct flights between Darwin and Denpasar between 9th October and 8th November due to potential repairs by the Department of Defence,” said a statement from Jetstar.
The suspension of ticket sales on these dates aims to reduce the possibility of passenger disruptions.
“If work is not carried out during these dates, we will resume ticket sales,” continued the statement.
Darwin Airport is owned by the Australian Department of Defence, which plans to upgrade the airport’s runway to accommodate a large number of military transports in the future. It is the only major airport in Australia owned by the Australian Department of Defence, besides the regional Townsville airport in Queensland.
The Airport Development Group (ADG), a business group that leases part of the land and manages civil commercial aviation operations there, stated that the development “forms part of the plans that will be implemented over the next 12 to 19 months.”
“Uncertainty remains regarding the Department of Defence’s work program, and ADG is currently unable to estimate the impact on passenger numbers,” said a spokesperson for ADG.
ADG expressed sympathy for the potential impact on passengers as the airport is shared by civilian commercial aircraft and the military.
Repair of Military Facilities
The runway repair will take place amid the Australian Department of Defence’s efforts to enhance all its facilities in northern Australia.
Australia’s Assistant Minister for Defence, Matt Thistlethwaite, stated that the runway expansion is “essential for the movement of defence forces in the north.”
“It is necessary to strengthen the runway to ensure it can accommodate additional Department of Defence aircraft in the future,” said Thistlethwaite.
“There have been discussions between the Department of Defence and the airport management to ensure minimal impact on civil aviation during construction and for those travelling to Darwin, which is crucial for the local economy.”
He mentioned that the Department of Defence intends to carry out the runway construction during the dry season, which occurs between May and September, and ideally during evenings or off-peak times.
“This is a significant project, and we are striving to conclude the discussions as soon as possible to facilitate an early start,” he said.
Nicole Manison, the Northern Territory Minister for Tourism, has called on the Department of Defence and ADG to resolve the issue “as soon as possible” to provide airlines and passengers with clarity.
“Airlines want to know how the runway work will affect them,” she said.
“This has been ongoing for far too long. We have been requesting information from the Department of Defence since the beginning of the year.
“We want to ensure that necessary projects are completed with the least possible negative impact on tourists, local residents, and airlines.”
Thistlethwaite stated that the project would be completed in 2024.