KANG SIEW LI
February 2 2006
INDONESIAN flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has terminated its direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Jogjakarta in favour of a new service.
It has replaced the thrice-weekly direct flights with daily flights via Singapore.
Garuda Indonesia general manager for Malaysia, Ryanto A. Winarso, said the carrier started offering the new service from January 12 this year.
"For starters, we are using a Boeing 737-300, which consists of 16 business class and 94 economy class seats.
"But if the passenger traffic grows, we may change to the bigger B737-400," Ryanto told Business Times recently.
He said the carrier has studied the traffic from Kuala Lumpur to Jogjakarta and found it promising.
However, due to the limited aircraft available, it decided to combine flights of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to offer daily flights to Jogjakarta.
Ryanto said the carrier has been enjoying a passenger load factor (the number of seats filled) of 85 per cent on the Kuala Lumpur-Jogjakarta sector and 60 per cent on the Jogjakarta-Kuala Lumpur sector.
"Currently, 60 per cent of the total passengers who fly from Kuala Lumpur to Jogjakarta are Indonesian workers, with 30 per cent leisure travellers and the rest business, student and those who visit friends and relatives.
"However, we hope to increase the number of business and leisure travellers on our flights soon," he added.
To attract Malaysians to Jogjakarta, Ryanto said the carrier plans to promote the city as a second alternative destination in Indonesia after Bali.
Jogjakarta is located in central Java and is home to a thriving handicrafts market, the Borobudur Buddhist temple, Prambanan Temple and Merapi Volcano, among others.
It is also popular among students from Malaysia who attend the Gajah Mada University.
Apart from Jogjakarta, Garuda Indonesia operates daily flights from Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta and thrice-weekly flights from Kuala Lumpur to Surabaya.
It also code-shares with Malaysia Airlines, which offers thrice-daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta and 11 times a week between Kuala Lumpur and Surabaya.