The end for Merpati?

Last updated: January 30, 2014
Sign: The End is Nigh

The signs are not good for Merpati Airlines.

Any airline that is cancelling flights due to unpaid fuel bills, whose staff are striking over unpaid salaries and has a government agency recommending its liquidation is usually on the verge of bankruptcy.

But apparently there is one exception:

Merpati logo and plane

The Indonesian government still believes the airline has the potential to turn it around, despite debts of Rp6 trillion – almost $US600 million. (As a point of comparison, Batavia Air was declared bankrupt after failing to pay a debt of $US4.68 million; passengers did not receive refunds for unused tickets.) There are plans afoot for two subsidiary companies to be sold to help pay some of the debt.

Yesterday, Merpati Airlines advised that all flights between Manado and Sorong are cancelled for February and March. Affected clients will be notified as soon as possible, but it may be difficult if they didn’t provide emergency contact details, as requested.

However, there is no word yet about other Merpati routes, e.g. its daily flights from Bali to Komodo.

In the meantime, until we can be confident that Merpati Airlines will reliably fly as scheduled, Mau Ke Mana will no longer be booking our clients on Merpati flights.

20 Comments on “The end for Merpati?”

  1. Chris says:

    Merpati is now promising to refund affected passengers’ tickets within 30 days. It is not clear how this will happen, seeing most of Merpati’s offices and airport customer service windows are now closed. Despite this, the Merpati Twitter account is advising affected passengers to request a refund at the place of purchase or the nearest Merpati office, with the rider that it will take a minimum (not a maximum) of 30 days to process.

    In theory, Merpati should pay double refunds, but no one seems to enforce this law, regardless of the airline’s financial status.

  2. Chris says:

    Update for today:

    – Only flights on these routes are still operating currently: Denpasar-Dili, Denpasar-Lombok-Bima-Lombok-Denpasar, Makassar-Merauke. Source

    – Merpati reportedly wants to recommence full operations at the end of February. Source

  3. Chris says:

    Update for today: Merpati has now stopped all flights indefinitely for “restructuring”. Source

    The Minister for State-Owned Enterprises says Merpati will return at the end of March. Source

  4. Chris says:

    50 out of 178 Merpati pilots have tendered their resignations after not being paid for 3 months. Source

  5. Chris says:

    The Department of Transport has given Merpati a deadline of 30 days (as of 8 March) to re-start operations or lose its certification, landing slots, etc. Source

    In real English, if Merpati doesn’t start flying before 7 April, it won’t start any time soon.

  6. Gordan says:

    Hello Chris, please do yo now something about Merpati flights Denspesar-Labuan Bajo?

  7. Chris says:

    Hi Gordan,

    I know all Merpati flights aren’t operating currently.

    Other choices are: Wings Air, Garuda Indonesia, TransNusa. We recently put a full schedule on our website here, but obviously you can ignore the Merpati ones.

  8. Gordan says:

    Thank you Chris, but my problem is because i already have tickets Bali-Labuan for july and i dont now what to do, wait? buy another tickets? wait for a refund? thank you and best regards

  9. Chris says:

    Hi Gordan,

    As written in a previous comment, the situation should become clearer by 7 April, when Merpati either has to start flying again OR lose its local certification – meaning it won’t restart any time soon.

    We have lots of clients in limbo; we will inform them when there are any developments.

  10. Wendy TAN says:

    We have bought the round trip Meparti ticket to Komodo from Jakata for Jan. 30-early Feb.,2014 but the flight has been cancelled. And we have contact Meparti office for refund and till now, there’s no feedback. Is there any way to contact them?


  11. Chris says:

    Hi Wendy,

    Hopefully around 7 April, the situation should become clear if/when/how refunds will be offered – see previous comment about the Department of Transport deadline.

    Currently, Merpati offices are closed, with no sign of this changing any time soon.

  12. Hali says:

    So I had emailed them beginning of march and they told me to check back beginning of april. I noticed their website is now down, I’ve tried to phone and there seems to be nothing. I emailed again but no response as of yet. I am getting quite concerned.

    We have 2 flights with them, one from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo April 29 and the other one from Maumere to Denpasar May 9. MY biggest concern is for the latter one since we have another flight the say day from Denpasar onward.

    The issue with April 7th however is that I will be leaving home and out of the country from April 6th onward ( will be in Morocco ) , so being able to phone them will be out of the question and contacting them will be very difficult.

    What do you think the chances are that these flights will be going? I’m just uncertain as to whether or not we should just rebook these flights now or what.

    Thank you!

  13. Chris says:

    Hi Hali,

    My gut feeling is that Merpati will not return any time soon, at least not until they have paid their huge fuel bill.

    Fortunately, there are other airlines flying your routes:

    1. Denpasar to Labuan Bajo – many options, there is a full schedule here.

    2. Maumere to Denpasar – Wings Air and Nam Air fly 4 days/week.

  14. Gordan says:

    Hello Chris, please i would ask you do you have any news about Merpati, i am affraid they are definetely closed, i have few tickets with them for july i dont know what do to? Thank you vey much for all your information, best regards

  15. Remo says:

    Hy Chris, do anyone got their money back till now? Till now now answer from merpati?
    Thanks remo

  16. Chris says:

    Hi Remo,

    No refunds as yet. No one really knows what is going on with Merpati currently, but their offices remain closed and other airlines are taking over the routes that Merpati used to fly.

  17. Rina says:

    i have 8 tikcets canclled flight on last Feb jakarta to Bali ,merpati said that they will re fund on 3o days but on March after we re confirm back to them the ticket only can re fund on this month June , reason they dont have money to pay on March, but said to say till now i still can not contact merpati.till now i still note yet get my money back….


  18. Chris says:

  19. Koencoro says:

    1 year later and still no sign of my 5jt refund.
    has anybody EVER heard ANYTHING back from Merparti regarding their refund?

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