Pack your bags for Bali

GARY WARNER

Speculation has reached fever pitch of flights from Geraldton to Bali and Geraldton to Melbourne.

Rumours have been circulating that the City of Geraldton-Greenough had been in discussions about starting the service with Skywest as soon as possible.

Adding fuel to the speculation was a recent inspection of the airport by Federal Customs and Quarantine officers.

It is expected that flights to Bali would operate at least initially via Port Hedland, which has an accredited international airport.

Extension work on Geraldton’s main runway has enabled it to handle larger aircraft and in January this year to announce the deregulation of the Geraldton route, Transport Minister Troy Buswell opened a new security lounge, which could probably be converted to an international arrivals area.

In January a QANTAS link Boeing 717 landed as part of celebrations marking the deregulation of domestic air routes in WA and recently Skywest tested the runway with an Airbus

A320.

The key to the service is also linking the Pilbara with Geraldton (see box story).

Despite the growing excitement of local travel agents, who believe a direct Bali service would be very popular, there is a definite reluctance to comment on the issue by those involved.

Bob Davis, the City’s director of commercial enterprises, declined to comment but said an announcement might be “in the wind very soon”.

Alan Stuart, vice president of commercial development at Skywest, declined to confirm the proposals indicating there were several steps to be completed before any announcement could be made.

Mr Stuart did confirm Skywest’s interest.

“We would certainly be interested in operating a flight service to Bali,” he said.

Skywest has previously been quoted as wanting to open a service to Melbourne via Kalgoorlie, further opening up channels for fly-in fly-out workers.

GARY WARNER