Friday, August 18, 2017

Indonesia wants direct Jakarta-Yangon air links

Indonesian government is requesting Myanmar to allow direct flights connecting Jakarta and Yangon to spur tourism and business activities between both nations.

Pupung Thariq Fadhillah addresses the tourism tabletop event in Yangon, July 14. Aung Khant / The Myanmar TimesPupung Thariq Fadhillah addresses the tourism tabletop event in Yangon, July 14. Aung Khant / The Myanmar Times

Dr Ito Sumardi, Indonesian ambassador in Yangon told The Myanmar Times on July 14 that in 2015, the Myanmar Airlines International (MAI) and Indonesia’s state-owned Garuda Airlines signed a deal but it did not materalise.

“Unfortunately Myanmar was not ready to allow direct flights from Indonesia to Myanmar at that time. I am still trying hard to request Myanmar, if possible we can arrange flights from Indonesia to Yangon because in my country, many people want to visit Myanmar,” Sumardi said.

The agreement could not be implemented as they cancelled the flights, he said. “But I believe may be very soon Myanmar government will give the opportunity for the Indonesian flights to fly to Myanmar.”

The agreement for code sharing to Jakarta (transit at Singapore) and three other destinations in Australia by cooperation with Garuda Airlines was signed in 2014 November, said Daw Aye Mra Tha, assistant general manager of MAI.

Sumardi said the economic landscape of Myanmar is changing after the international sanctions were lifted last year and the country offers vast potential for foreign investors, and likewise emerging Indonesia is also an interesting economy for investors to explore.

“Our embassy is making efforts to bring Indonesian business delegation to see opportunities for investment here (Myanmar). May be soon one of the organisations from Indonesia will try to promote tourism business,” he said.

The number of Myanmar tourist visiting Indonesia is also on the rise. Pupung Thariq Fadhillah, deputy director of Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism told The Myanmar Times that about 25,000 Myanmar travellers visited Indonesia in 2015.

For the first time, Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism flew in about 10 operators for a tourism tabletop event, to promote tourism activities between both countries.

“Actually this is a brief event for tourism promotion, we will do step by step in the long-term. By doing this activity we can get business contacts and partners from both countries,” Fadhillah said.

Indonesia plans to host a similar event in September in Myanmar.

“It very important to connect the two countries but there is no direct flights and travellers need to transit in Bangkok, Singapore or Malaysia. I hope the flight frequency will be increased by year,” he said.

Currently Jetstar Airlines is flying to six destinations in Indonesia from Yangon, with a transit in Singapore – 60 times a week to Jakarta and 40 times per-week to Bali from Yangon International Airport, said U Pye Soe Tun, sales manager of Jetstar Myanmar.

“The future of tourism is very good because I see so many interesting things here, and we can sell these tour packages to Indonesian people. This event will encourage more people to travel to Indonesia and some are already visiting Indonesia,” a tour operator from Indonesia, Robbie Arisutantyo, managing director of Electra Tour and Travel told The Myanmar Times.

According to Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism, they received more than 12 million international tourists in 2016, four times more than arrivals in Myanmar.

Indonesia is targetting to woo 15 million tourists this year.