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Garuda resumes services to Europe
June 3rd, 2010

(Amsterdam: 2 June 2010): Indonesia’s national airline, Garuda Indonesia, today took the first step in rebuilding its long-haul international network with the launch of a new daily service from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Dubai. Amsterdam is the first of several major European destinations which Garuda Indonesia intends to add to its fast-growing network over the next four years, including Frankfurt, London, Paris and Rome.

Garuda Indonesia’s re-entry into Amsterdam, after an absence of almost six years, marks a significant step forward in the airline’s global expansion strategy and its transformation into one of Asia’s most successful and profitable airlines. The new Jakarta-Amsterdam service provides passengers with greater connectivity and convenience and the choice of an alternative gateway between Asia and Europe. Garuda Indonesia becomes the first Indonesian airline to reopen flights to Europe after the European Union’s (E.U) ban prohibiting Indonesian carriers from operating in European airspace was lifted in July last year.

“Europe will play an integral role in our five-year ‘Quantum Leap’ strategy which includes growing our international network as well as developing new concepts for both business and leisure travel. Establishing a strong presence in Amsterdam and the rest of Europe is an important element in meeting these growth targets,” said Emirsyah Satar, President and CEO, Garuda Indonesia.

“We’re also planning to launch an Initial Public Offering (IPO) before the end of this year and our return to Europe is pivotal in determining the success of the IPO. We want to raise approximately US$300 million to support these long-term growth plans”, added Satar.

The daily service operates from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport using the airline’s technically advanced 222-seater Airbus A330-200 aircraft with a two-class configuration – carrying 36 passengers in Executive Class and 186 in Economy Class. In Executive Class the aircraft offers fully reclining flat bed seats with 74 inch seat pitch. The aircraft also features individual touch-screen LCD screens in all classes; state-of-art in-flight entertainment systems with touch-screen Audio & Video On Demand (AVOD) delivering a choice of 25 feature films, 250 audio tracks and 25 video games.

“We are honoured that Garuda Indonesia selected Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to be the first airport to re-open connections to Europe. We are very delighted to have Garuda Indonesia back with this new daily service between Jakarta and Amsterdam. The new service also offers hassle free connections via Schiphol airport to many European destinations. Garuda Indonesia’s return to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol opens a new area for passengers to travel between Asia and Europe. Passengers can also choose Jakarta as an alternative gateway to Southeast Asia and Australia. We are confident this route will strengthen relations between Indonesia and the Netherlands, both in business and leisure”, said Pieter Verboom, CFO Schiphol Group.

Garuda Indonesia was recently upgraded to a four-star rating by Skytrax, the global benchmark for airline service standards, confirming the improvement in its front-line product and service quality. It was also named the ‘World’s Most Improved Airline’ at the Skytrax 2010 World Airline Awards in Hamburg, Germany last month. The Skytrax World Airline Awards is the airline industry’s most comprehensive and prestigious measure of service quality and is based on survey results from nearly 18 million international passengers.

“We have invested heavily in developing a service culture known as the ‘Garuda Indonesia Experience’ which combines warm Indonesian hospitality with quality service and comfort. In addition, we will introduce an ‘Immigration On-Board’ service which will allow passengers entering Indonesia to have their travel documents processed on-board, eliminating the need to queue at immigration counters upon arrival,” said Agus Priyanto, EVP Commercial, Garuda Indonesia.

Flight GA88 takes-off from Jakarta everyday at 20.40, arriving in Dubai at 02.00. It departs again at 03.15, arriving in Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport at 08.00 the next day. The return flight departs Amsterdam at 11.00, arriving in Dubai at 19.30. The same aircraft departs again at 20.30, arriving in Jakarta at 07.55

Airline in $99 fares war to Bali
May 20th, 2010

The AirAsia group is due to launch a new airfare war to Asia tomorrow with one-way fares expected to be just $99 or less to Bali and Kuala Lumpur.

It is understood there will be several million seats available Asia-wide for travel later this year and in 2011 to all the group’s 65 destinations.

Previous sales by AirAsia have sold out in hours and the airline expects the seats to be snapped up.

After AirAsia started offering flights from Perth to Kuala Lumpur in late 2008 air travel to Kuala Lumpur leapt by 38 per cent in 2009, and is up another 34 per cent this year.

The airline started Bali services from Perth in 2009 and air travel to Bali has skyrocketed – climbing 46 per cent last year, while early figures point to another 50 per cent increase this year.

AirAsia will increase its Bali services to three times daily from June 1 and Kuala Lumpur to twice a day from August 1.

Last month, AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes promised West Australians “more flights and more bargains”.

“Unlike other airlines we don’t put fares up when our planes are full, we add more flights,” Mr Fernandes said.

And unlike other airlines that were haemorrhaging red ink last year as passengers stayed away, AirAsia recorded a $183 million net profit with a 24 per cent growth in passengers to 22.7 million, making it the fastest-growing and most successful airline in the Asia-Pacific region.

The airline has 82 aircraft making 627 flights a day on 136 routes to 18 countries throughout Asia, Australia and India.

Those numbers are more extraordinary given that seven years ago the airline had just two aircraft and six routes and founder Mr Fernandes rarely, if ever, received an audience with regulators or politicians, let alone a cup of coffee from a banker.

Now the red carpet is there wherever he goes as airports build new terminals to accommodate his airline’s expansion and politicians scramble to be seen at the airline’s ever increasing occasions of ordering more aircraft or making new route announcements.

Indonesian police seize 71 giant turtles in Bali
May 20th, 2010

DENPASAR, Indonesia — Indonesian police have confiscated 71 endangered giant sea turtles from a food stall on the resort island of Bali, an officer said Wednesday.

The owner of the stall was arrested when the giant green turtles, named chelonia mydas, were found inside his storehouse in Denpasar, chief detective Col. Andi Taqdir Rahmantiro said.

Rahmantiro said the stall owner told police he purchased the turtles, with an average size of more than 3.3 feet (one meter), from fishermen who caught them in waters off Sulawesi island.

Turtle meat is a traditional delicacy in the predominantly Hindu province of Bali, although Indonesia has banned turtle trade and consumption due to concerns about dwindling numbers and threats by animal welfare groups of a tourist boycott of Bali.

Turtles are among several protected species in Indonesia, a vast nation of 17,000 islands.

Raja Ampat turns to Bali to help promote tourism
April 16th, 2010

In an attempt to attract more tourists, West Papua’s Raja Ampat regency opened a representative office in Bali to promote marine tourism in the regency, known as one of the world’s best diving spots.

The office will provide complete information about tourism in Raja Ampat and offer travel document services. It will also serve as an information center for investors interested in entering the regency.

Regent Marcus Wanma said his administration decided to open the Bali office since they believed the resort island was a potential draw for tourists from around the world.

“Bali can also serve as a transit point. Tourists can make the journey to Raja Ampat from here,” Marcus said at the inauguration ceremony of the representative office located on Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai in Sanur.

The popular diving spot of Raja Ampat was visited by around 4,000 tourists last year, mostly foreign tourists from the US, Australia, Japan and Europe. The regency is targeting to increase tourist arrivals to to between 5,000 and 6,000 this year.

Raja Ampat lies at the center of a coral triangle and boasts a rich marine biodiversity with more than 456 coral species – more than half of the total coral species globally – and around 828 coral fish species.

Located in the northwest of West Papua, Raja Ampat consists of 610 islands, including the four main islands of Waigeo, Batanta, Misool and Salawati.

The area offers diving facilities, beaches and mountains in Wayag area. Tourists can also observe the cultural life of Raja Ampat residents.

Since the regency was established in 2003, the administration has been increasing efforts to develop marine tourism there, including by improving accessibility to the area by building roads, telecommunication networks and airports, Marcus said.

To widen access, the regency, which is still blanketed by forests, began constructing airports in Waigeo, Misool, Waisai and Ayau in 2007. The regency allocated Rp 2.5 billion to build each airport.

Currently, Sorong is the main entry point into Raja Ampat.

“Tourist can only go to Raja Ampat through Sorong and continue their trip by ferry. We expect that the new airports will be ready to use by the end of this year,” Marcus said.

Direct flights to Sorong are available from Manado and Makassar.

The head of the regency’s tourism and culture agency, Yusdi Lama Tenggo, added that should the new office in Bali succeed in attracting more tourists to Raja Ampat, the regency would open more offices, including in the North Sulawesi capital of Manado and in Singapore.

New int’l boarding school to open in Bali
April 8th, 2010

Wed, 04/07/2010 11:58 AM  |  Bali

DENPASAR: Bali provincial administration has signed an agreement with the Putera Sampoerna Foundation to establish an international boarding school called the Sampoerna Academy in Bali.

The Foundation plans to build an international senior high boarding school combining national and international curriculums. The project will begin next year.

Eddy Henry, the Foundation’s director of programs and alumni affairs, told reporters that the chief objective of the planned project was to develop an educational institution to nurture new leaders of Bali and Indonesia in general.

“We need to breed new leaders. The foundation will search for the best talent on the island and provide scholarships so they can pursue a rich education,” Henry said.

The Bali province will provide a 5-hectare plot of land for school and boarding buildings in Kubutambahan village in Buleleng regency, northern Bali. – JP

SBY confirms Bali bomber Dulmatin killed in raid
March 11th, 2010

INDONESIAN President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono has confirmed that Jemaah Islamiah leader Dulmatin was one of
three men killed in a raid in Jakarta yesterday.

Dulmatin was a key player in the 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

Dr Yudhoyono made the surprise admission despite authorities in Jakarta insisting they had yet to complete forensic testing to establish the
identity of the man shot dead in an internet cafe in the Indonesian capital’s western area.

Indonesia’s minister for politics, law and security Djoko Suyanto immediately cast doubt on the pronouncement, saying on the sidelines of the presidential visit in Canberra that “it’s not confirmed yet to be Dulmatin; I have asked the chief of police, and there is not yet certainty. To be absolutely certain we need to conduct DNA tests”

Two other people were shot in accompanying raids yesterday while trying to escape by motorbike.

The confusion over the identity and timing of the assassination-style killing of Dulmatin raises questions about political motivations for
the raid, which followed two weeks of high-publicity anti-terrorism activity in Aceh and came immediately before both Dr Yudhoyono’s visit
to Canberra and US President Barack Obama’s trip to Jakarta next week.

Expand Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport Soon, Tourism Minister Urges
March 2nd, 2010

Denpasar. As the “gateway to paradise,” Bali’s Ngurah Rai Inter­national Airport should immediately be expanded, Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said on Sunday.

“Do not postpone it any longer, especially with the number of tourists visiting Bali increasing each year,” he said during the launch of a book, “Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport, the Gateway to Paradise 1930-2010,” in Kuta.

He said he had received reports regarding proposals for the airport expansion design, including one that suggested employing a Balinese architectural design to differentiate it from other airports in the country.

The expanded airport is also planned to have fewer commercial areas, which the minister supported.

“If you want to shop, just go to Sukawati market, shop directly from the people,” said Jero, referring to the famous art market near Ubud.

Jero said he was optimistic the expansion of Ngurah Rai airport would attract more tourists to Bali and other destinations in Indonesia. In the past two months, he said, the number of tourists visiting Indonesia had increased by 3 percent to 4 percent over the same period last year.

However, the minister warned that the airport expansion must be complemented with an improvement of related services such as immigration, taxis and toilets.

“Remember, a survey stated that 70 percent of people who just get off a plane, the first thing they want is the toilet. Do not let people travel all the way from Europe and, once they get into Ngurah Rai Airport, they complain about the dirty toilets,” Jero said.

Bambang Darwoto, director of state airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I, said the expansion project was still waiting for recommendations from the Bali governor and the head of Badung district. Their recommendations are a prerequisite to getting official permission from the minister of transportation.

“Once we get the approval, we will soon announce the tender, and a month after that we can start work,” he said.

The expansion, he said, will include international and domestic terminals and a number of other areas such as aprons and runways. It will cover 120,000 square meters with a cost of about Rp 1.7 trillion ($182 million).

With the expansion, the airport’s annual passenger-handling capacity will roughly double to about 20 million.

Bambang emphasized that the expansion of the airport would not encroach on people’s land, but would require the relocation of a housing complex for about 170 employees of PT Angkasa Pura.

As for supporting infrastructure such as roads, he said, it is the responsibility of the local government.

“The local governments must immediately think about it,” Bambang said.

“If the airport has been expanded, but the roads do not support it, there will be terrible traffic jams.”


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