Garuda Indonesia will begin direct flights from London to Bali from 22 January.
Indonesia’s national carrier is switching its existing London Heathrow to Jakarta service to run a direct one-way flight from London to Denpasar in Bali.
The new route brings the popular holiday island, known for its black sand beaches, swaggering sunsets and Hindu temples, within a direct flight from the UK.
However, the route is only directly on the outbound leg. On the return leg, London-bound travellers will have to travel via Jakarta. This also means that passengers from London whose final destination is Jakarta will have to connect in Bali instead.
The 7,760-mile flight, which will take 15 hours and 35 minutes, will operate three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The flight, flown on a Boeing 777-300 aircraft, will leave London at 9.55pm and arrive in Bali at 9.15pm local time.
Prices for a single journey on the inaugural direct flight started from £548 including all taxes and fees.
Garuda resumed flying from Heathrow to Jakarta in November, following what it called a restructure of its long-haul routes.
Tourism to Bali has faltered over the past year thanks to the continued eruption of the active volcano Mount Agung, as well as two earthquakes in eastern Indonesia.
According to Tourism Indonesia, the number of foreigners arriving in Bali fell 2.77 per cent in the first three months of the 2018 year on year. The tourism body blamed the 2017 eruption of the volcano, which prompted a 2.5-day closure of the international airport.
In 2017, 361,197 British tourists were visiting Indonesia or increased around 9.8 per cent compared to that of 2016, which was recorded at 328,882. As of August 2018, there have been 264,023 British people enjoying their holidays in the archipelago.
The tourists coming from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia have become the top five contributors to foreign tourist arrivals to Indonesia over the past few years.
The market value of the five European countries has been recorded at more than US$1 million with an average length of stay of almost two weeks or 13.7 days.
What are the details of London to Bali Flight?
Starting from January 22nd, 2019 (yes that soon), Garuda Indonesia will be operating a non-stop direct one-way route from London Heathrow to Bali. The route will operate three times a week (Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays).
The route will be flown from 10 PM to 9 AM London to Bali (Overnight) and will take around 15 hours and 35 minutes.
For the time being, Garuda will continue operating its dual-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to and from London, rather than one of few remaining three-class 777-300ERs that feature its first class cabin.
However, starting July 5 first class will be coming back to Garuda’s London service – at least for a short time. The airline’s three-class 777-300ERs, at the moment deployed to Tokyo, will take over the London route for the summer months until September 15, Garuda Indonesia confirmed to Business Traveller Asia-Pacific.
First class fares between London and Denpasar have been listed on Garuda’s official website and, at the time of writing, start from £4,941 (US$6,497) round trip including taxes and fees.
Garuda’s three-class setup for its 777-300ER includes eight first class seats laid out in two rows with a 1-2-1 layout, 38 business class seats also in a 1-2-1 configuration and 268 economy class seats laid out nine across (3-3-3).
Despite Garuda’s decision to axe its non-stop London flights late last year, traffic flow between the UK and Indonesia is on the rise.
Describing the new Denpasar routing as being part of the airline’s “ongoing commitment to strengthen its international network”, Garuda Indonesia CEO Ari Askhara noted that tourism arrivals from the UK have been positive.
“UK-Indonesia continues to show increasingly promising market growth, where the number of British tourist arrivals to Indonesia has increased significantly, especially through Bali as one of the leading tourism [destinations] in Indonesia,” said Askhara.
According to the airline, the UK comprises the fourth-largest contributor of tourist arrivals after China, Australia and India.
You might be wondering how Garuda managed to get Heathrow slots so quickly. Well, this new route comes at the cost of the London Heathrow to Jakarta route.
It’s a little strange that they are cancelling the route to the Indonesian capital and replacing it with a link to a popular tourist destination, but perhaps this gamble will pay off in a big way.