Timor-Leste Air Warz Redux
The long long awaited Timor Air has apparently arrived – and is about to start flying the Dili-Darwin-Dili route, starting just 72 hours from now. Booming air travel is often the sign of a growing economy – just as airlines are often the first to feel the pinch in hard times. In Timor-Leste these days its all about more planes not less.
After getting the word via Twitter that the Vincent Aviation website had announced a new route in partnership with Timor Air I had a look and its – well – true. And here is the beauty of competition, seems you can get tickets at 50% the price of Air North. Try $269 versus $500.
One has to wonder if we will see a replay of the Merpati – Batavia struggle earlier this year. Batavia gave Merpati a run for its money. However, Merpati, with deeper pockets buried Batavia. Batavia had to go from daily schedules to just twice a week. But it has kept prices down somewhat.
Mind you many people are in an “I hate Merpati mood these days”.
Three days ago the plane was three hours late, yesterday it did not come at all, and today it was a no show as well, but apparently (according to this tweep) they are going to borrow a Batavia plane….?!
Having said all that the local media is having a field day. Online media outlet CJITL published a story this afternoon saying “Merpati are liars, passengers ask the Government to cancel Merpati in Timor-Leste.” They have some very juicy quotes from the national Provedor, and the the head of the Anti-Corruption Commission – among the stranded passengers. Anyway that is the chattering classes of Dili for you. Some of my friends in a far away place called Passabe can only watch the high altitude vapor trails.
Three days ago I had the pleasure of flying very late on what can only be described as a Merpati “clunker” from Denpasar to Dili. Take note of the peeling paint all over the front end of this 18th century era B737.
Then if you look very closely you will see the top starboard rear window seems, well how to say it? Cracked up… I especially like the guy on his mobile phone sitting next to the nose landing gear. Isn’t there an urban myth about a problem with mobile phone signals and aviation fuel in close proximity?
Air Timor has a lock on the Dili-Singapore jaunt.
As I post this blog Merpati mania continues at the airport.