AirAsia Links Medan with Yogyakarta and Palembang this Month



            In meeting increase air travel demand in the country, low cost carrier AirAsia Indonesia October 21 this month introduce its new routes linking its Medan hub (North Sumatra) with special region of Yogyakarta in Java, and Palembang, South Sumatra provincial capital.


            “The opening of both routes will give more options for our customers in Medan who wish to to for business trip to Palembang or want to go to Yogyakarta for leisure. We are hoping that the new flight services will help contribute to commercial activities among the three cities,” said Sunu Widyatmoko, AirAsia Indonesia CEO as qouted Jakarta Post (16/09).


            According to Sunu, the daily flights to Palembang and Yogyakarta will be flown with 180-seater Airbus A320 aircraft. Currently AirAsia operates 78 flights a week from its Medan hub to a number of destinations in the country and throughout the ASEAN region, among others to Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Bangkok. According to his data, from January to August this year, 821,870 passengers flew from Medan, a major 49 percent increase from the same period of last year. (ds)



SilkAir Targeting Eastern Indonesia Market


             To boost its flight operations, Singapore Airlines’ subsidiary, SilkAir has targeted the eastern Indonesian market which it has been servicing since 2013.          “The easten part of Indonesia has a potential market, which we believe will increase in the future,” said Yumiana, SilkAir’s Assistant of Sales and Reservations of Makassar, South Sulawesi as quoted by Antara  news agency (12/09).


            Yumiana pointed out, Makassar city is the air hub for eastern Indonesian flights, passengers are not only coming from the city, but also from other areas in eastern Indonesia. According to Yumiana, since servicing Makassar in 2013, currently SilkAir has three flight schedules per week, with an average 80 percent load factor and during school holidays the percentage increases.


            On the Makassar-Singapore direct flight, SilkAir is targeting the middle to higher class passengers by offering several services. “We have offered 30 kilograms of baggage capacity for economy class and 40 kilograms for business class, as well as in-flight meals, Yumiana said. Currently the Singapore Airlines’ subsidiary has direct flights operating from Makassar to Singapore and other destinations, such as Beijing, India and Europe. (ds)



New Airfares Introduce Last Month


            “We plan to issue the new airfare-ceiling decree for economy class tickets this month (September), of around 10 percent increase,” said Djoko Murjatmodjo, air transportation director of the Transportation Ministry on the issue of revising airfare ceilings (16/09).  According to Djoko Murjatmodjo to Jakarta Post, his office had communicated the plan to relevant parties in the aviation sector, including operators. He said the ceiling price needed to be increased due to multi-factors, namely the depreciation of the rupiah and the rising price of avtur (aviation turbine fuel) in the past years.


            The airfare ceiling price is currently stipulated in the Transportation Minsitry Regulation No. 26/2010 in which it stated the maximum airfare for Jakarta-Denpasar, is Rp 1,478.000 (US$154), Jakarta-Makassar is Rp 1,846.000 and Jakarta-Medan at Rp 1,847,000 excluding 10 percent value-added tax, travel insurance, passenger charges or airport taxes.


            The regulation stated that full-service carriers such as Garuda Indonesia and Batik Air  are allowed to charge up to 100 percent of the ceiling. Respectively, medium-and low-cost carriers are allowed to charge up to 90 percent and 85 percent.


            While Indonesian National Air Carriers Association (INACA) chairman Arief Wibowo said, domestic airlines would find it difficult to compete with other carrier in the ASEAN  region when the ASEAN Open Skies Policy to be implemented in 2015 if the government did not revive the ceiling price immediately and scrap the import tax on spare parts.


            “We still need to import a lot of spare parts for aircraft, which increase our operating cost,” said Airf Wibowo as quoted by Jakarta Post.   Above that, Angkasa noted, avtur price in the country is around 7 percent higher than in Singapore and to be paid in U.S. dollars.


Djoko Murjatmodjo said Sept. 19 that the government has refused the national operator operators proposal to scrap the airfare ceiling currently imposed on busy routes. “If the ceiling is scrapped it will hurt passengers as it will allow airlines to apply the highest price during peak seasons,” he stressed. He added as quoted by the Jakarta Post, “We cannot scrap the ceiling price mechanism without revising Law No. 1/2009 on flight services. The law itself has a function to protect citizens.”


He further said, should INACA wanted the ceiling price mechnism to be scrapped, it meant the law should be revived, which would obviously a very time-consuming process. On the new airfare ceiling, Djoko said the ministry to introduce the new ceiling price end of September last month. (ds)



Outbound Trips Dominates Garuda Indsonesia Travel Fair


            Flag carrier Garuda booked a total of Rp 152 billion (US$12.6 million) in sales during the Garuda Indonesia Travel Fair (GATF) held Sept. 12-14 with 73 percent of passengers purchasing outbound ticket trips. Only 27 percent of customers bought domestic flight tickets. Erik Meijer, Garuda sales and marketing director as qouted by Jakarta Post further said, “We saw a very high demand for international flights, since only 27 percent of the customers bought domestic flight tickets.”


The September travel fair was Garuda’s second event held this year, the first was on April 11-13. According to Meijer, the top four international destinations (still) remain Asian cities — Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. He added, “ Our sales to Europe are actually doing great. Fligth tickets to Amsterdam are already sold out until end of October. The route, however, did not make it to the top four favorite destinations during the GATF since we only offer a very limited capacity.”


            Meijer said another interesting fact recorded during the second GATF of this year, the surging buying power of visitors increased to Rp 2.2 million in September from Rp 1.5  million in last April. “It seems the depreciation of the rupiah against the US dollar over the past year no longer affected the public demand for travel,” he said.


            During the 2010 GATF, Garuda data shows the average spending reached only Rp 868,571 per customer, with visitors totaling 35,000. The GATF April 2014, Garuda recorded a total of 44,724 visitors with ticket sales reaching Rp 70.8 billion.         First held in 2009 with 25,000 visitors attending, the number grew to 51,000 in 2012 and at the three-day travel fair which was held at the Jakarta Covention Center from Sept. 12 to 14, 2014, recorded a total of 68,500 visitors.


            Interesting data from Bank Indoensia (BI) and the Tourisme Creative Economy Ministry shows, the number of oubound travelers increased to 8.3 million last year from only 4.9 million in 2008. The BI’s data shows that betweeen 65 to 70 percent of last year’s outbound travelers went abroad for leisure, umrah (minor pilgrimage), the haj and medical treatment, while the reamining 30 to 35 percent went for business reasons. (ds)