In a move that suggests "unexpected turbulence" signs are now lit inside Garuda Indonesia's Board Room, the Airline's President Director, Emirsyah Satar, labeled as a "misperception" reports that the Indonesian National Carrier was set to stop direct flights from Australia and Japan to Bali.
Pants on Fire?
Plans to stop direct flights to Bali, as reported on balidiscovery.com, have been front page news in the Bali press and regional travel industry publications for several weeks, prompting urgent visits to the Airline's CEO by the Minister of Culture and Tourism and a broad spectrum of political leaders from across Bali. That the Airline has remained silent for weeks in the face of the avalanche of criticism prompted by the planned termination of direct international flights to Bali suggests claims by Satar that earlier reports were "merely misunderstandings" are lacking in both candor and veracity.
Speaking to the press in Jakarta on Monday, November 13, 2006, Satar announced that Garuda Indonesia will continue with direct international flights to Bali.
In an address to media that was held in the carrier's Head Office, Satar advised that the operation of Jakarta as a single hub had been one option under consideration but that "Garuda Indonesia will not stop international flights to Bali. However, the airline's efficiency and the requirement to maximize profitability remains an ongoing priority."
The airline's CEO stated that it was clear that, just as passengers doing business in Jakarta desired direct services to Jakarta, tourists traveling to Bali also required direct services to Bali.
Satar reconfirmed Garuda's strong commitment to the promotion of tourism in Indonesia, including Bali, and informed the media that in 2006 Garuda Indonesia committed in excess of 1.1 million seats to international flights into Bali, or around 30 percent of total passengers.
A Sigh of Relief from Down Under
Garuda Indonesia's Sydney-based Regional Manager Southwest Pacific, Suranto Yitnopawiro, said, "I am delighted at the outcome of this strategy review. It is good to be able to put an end to speculation and to reassure our industry partners in Australia and Bali."
Garuda Indonesia currently operates services to Bali from international ports including Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore and several others.
Mr Suranto advised that planning for the Northern Hemisphere Summer Schedules is still under way.
"Final schedules will be dictated by market demand, route profitability and the availability of suitable aircraft," said Suranto.
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