Govt Offered Controlling Stake in Air Paradise

DENPASAR ~ The government of Bali is studying a proposal by non-operational Air Paradise International to purchase a controlling 51-percent stake in the former carrier as it prepares to take to the skies later this year, officials said.

The majority share in the airline is worth some Rp150 billion (US$16.6 million), according to chairman Kadek Wiranatha, a prominent local businessman with a range of interests in the tourism sector.

Wiranatha himself would hold 33 percent of Air Paradise’s shares while the remaining 16 percent would go to a foreign businessman, Sri Lankan Sudhahar Sunthaeampillai.

The airline, which went spectacularly bankrupt in November 2005 over what it said was its sole reliance on the Australian market and as Australians stayed away from Bali, is attempting to cobble together around Rp250 billion ($27.7 million) for a relaunch.

The Bali government had previously expressed its interest in Air Paradise, citing the carrier’s importance to the island’s vital tourism industry and saying it would examine any investment proposal.

The last news update posted on the airline’s website (, on June 14 last year, says it “is in discussions with a new international financing company in relation to the potential recapitalization of Air Paradise.”

Late last year, company officials said they hoped Air Paradise could resume operations as early as March this year, though thus far no launch date has been announced.

It is understood, however, that the airline plans to restart flights to Australia as well as around Indonesia, including from Bali to Jakarta, Yogyakarta in Central Java and the East Java capital of Surabaya.

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