Flights between Townsville and Bali are ready for takeoff, but controversy over the Bali Nine executions is stalling ­negotiations

Townsville Airport has the all-clear for the flights after the Federal Government agreed to subsidise the cost of providing border protection services.

Jetstar has repeatedly said it wants to begin flights between Townsville and Bali this year, but the Bulletin understands the controversy over the planned executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran has delayed negotiations.

Townsville Airport chief operating officer Kevin Gill said negotiations with a number of airlines were continuing.

“The airport continues to have constructive discussions with the airlines and based on the level of public interest, the airport remains confident that there will be sufficient demand to support a service,” he said.

“The airport remains hopeful services will commence this year. We are open for business to international destinations.”

A spokesman for Jetstar said the airline was committed to beginning flights between Townsville and Bali this year,

“We’ve been clear about our interest in operating international flights from Townsville later this year,” the spokesman said.

“There are a number of steps that we need take before this can happen which we are in the process of going through now.”

A spokesman for AirAsia said the airline was also considering operating flights out of the airport.

“AirAsia is still strongly considering services between Townsville and Bali but essentially nothing to update at this stage from previous advice,” the spokesman said.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited Townsville last month, promising to subsidise customs and border security costs at the airport so airlines did not have to foot the bill.

Anthony Galloway, Townsville Bulletin – Published Wednesday 18 March 2015– Townsville Bulletin Website