Canberra is set to regain its direct international flight connections, with two carriers, Batik Air and Fiji Airways, committing to service the capital region. Batik Air will commence flights to Denpasar, Bali, from July, while Fiji Airways has been operating flights to Nadi since last July. The viability of these routes is attributed to the onward connections available from both destinations.
However, experts caution that predicting demand for flights from smaller markets like Canberra and maintaining competitive pricing can be challenging. Canberra Airport has faced difficulties in sustaining international services in the past, with Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways discontinuing their operations. Singapore Airlines has not announced a timeline for its return, despite the ACT government's ongoing discussions.
The smaller size of Batik Air and Fiji Airways, with smaller aircraft capacities, is considered more suitable for the current demand in Canberra. However, experts suggest that larger carriers from major cities may still pose competition with potentially lower fares. Convenience, however, may outweigh price considerations for passengers flying from their home city.
Factors such as seasonal changes could also impact demand, with fewer travelers likely to seek flights to Bali or Fiji during Canberra's summer months. Additionally, the government expects the Bali route to accommodate both outbound Canberra residents and inbound international students from countries such as Nepal and India.