[2021] IASC R04

PDF version 

Resolution: [2021] IASC R04
Determination: [2019] IASC 128
The Route: Indonesia
The Applicant:

Virgin Australia International Airlines Pty Ltd
 (Virgin Australia) 
 (ACN 125 580 823 / ABN 63 125 580 823)

Public Register: IASC/APP/202108

On 28 November 2019, the International Air Services Commission (the Commission) issued Determination [2019] IASC 128 (the Determination) allocating 880 seats of capacity in each direction to Virgin Australia International Airlines Pty Ltd (Virgin Australia) on the Indonesia route.  The Determination includes several conditions including the requirement for the capacity to be utilised from no later than 29 March 2020 or from such other date approved by the Commission.  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacts, including current travel restrictions put in place by the Australian Government in March 2020, Virgin Australia was not able to commence the new services to and from Indonesia as originally planned.  In light of this, upon the request of Virgin Australia, the Commission issued Resolutions [2020] IASC R03 (17 April 2020); [2020] IASC R05 (19 June 2020); and [2020] IASC R07 (7 December 2020) extending the date of commencement of use of the capacity by Virgin Australia.  

On 30 March 2021, Virgin Australia wrote to the Commission seeking a further extension of the date of commencing the utilisation of the capacity from 31 March 2021 to 29 October 2022. 

Virgin Australia indicated in its application that due to the closure of Australia’s international borders, Virgin Australia has suspended its international operations except for its scheduled Australia-New Zealand services commencing on 19 June 2021 (unless ‘delayed to accommodate and respond to the uncertain and evolving timelines for border opening’).

Virgin Australia indicated its strong desire to ‘retain the ability to utilise the capacity to ensure Australians have a choice and that Australian airlines are responsive to the needs of consumers’.  Virgin Australia indicated that it intends to recommence its international operations as soon as possible, subject to the timelines of border restrictions.

The Commission continues to recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions imposed by various countries, have seriously disrupted the international operations of airlines and global competition worldwide.  In these circumstances, the Commission remains of the view that, against this background, competition and other criteria cannot be assessed as current travel restrictions significantly hamper the Commission’s ability to make relevant findings. These matters will be addressed as appropriate as international scheduling and operations permit.  

In light of these extraordinary circumstances, the Commission issues Resolution [2021] IASC R04 to provide that the capacity issued under Determination [2019] IASC 128 is to be utilised from no later than 31 October 2021, or such other date approved by the Commission.  The Commission will continue to monitor the airline’s ability to utilise the capacity on the route.

Dated:   6 April 2021  

Ian Douglas - Chairperson

Karen Gosling - Commissioner