Citilink debuts in eastern Australia with service to Melbourne Avalon

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January 22, 2020
Citilink Airbus
A Citilink A320neo. Photo: Airbus

Indonesian carrier Citilink touches down at Melbourne Avalon Airport on January 25 optimistic it can reach its target of filling at least 70 percent of seats on its new daily Bali service.

The Garuda Indonesia offshoot already operates Perth-Bali flights and will fly its first service to Australia’s eastern states using a 178-seat A320neo.

It is the second overseas carrier after AirAsia X to operate from Avalon, about 50kms from the center of Melbourne.

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The international services were made possible after the airport opened its international terminal 14 months ago as an alternative to Melbourne’s main airport at Tullamarine.

Vietnamese carrier VietJet Air also announced last year that it planned to operate four times weekly direct flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Avalon in the second half of 2020.

Citilink’s A320neo will depart Melbourne Avalon at 12:50 pm daily with the return service landing at 8:50 am.

Announcing the new service earlier this month, Citilink chief executive Juliandra said he believed the Avalon service would provide more options for Victorians wanting to visit Bali as well as for people heading to Melbourne from Bali.

He noted Australia accounted for the second-highest number of visitors in 2019 and said he was optimistic the route would reach its target seat load factor of 70 percent.

Avalon chief executive Justin Giddings said Bali was the airport’s most requested holiday destination and one it had been pursuing for some time.

“It’s an honor to introduce this airline to the region, and make Bali more accessible for Melbourne, Geelong and Regional Victoria in particular,’’ he said.

“We’re certain the flights will be hugely successful.”

Citilink was established in 2001 as a low-cost shuttle service between Indonesian cities and expanded in 2012 to become an independent business entity.

The airline serves 30 destinations in Indonesia with a fleet of 57 aircraft as well as Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Kunming in China, Penang in Malaysia and Dili in East Timor.

It appears to have shelved plans to launch long-haul flights to Frankfurt.

Avalon is outside the Victorian regional city of Geelong and about 45 minutes away from the center of Melbourne, depending on traffic. A Skybus service connects the two.