Kupang’s Growing Role as Regional and International Air Hub
Beyond Bali: Kupang Airport Seeking to Add International Flight to Darwin Following Commencement of Twice Weekly Flights Between Kupang and Dili, Timor-Leste
Angkasas Pura I (AP-I) - the managers of the El Tari International Airport in Kupang, West Timor is targeting to host flights connecting Kupang with Darwin, Australia.
Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, the spokesman for AP-I at the El Tari Airport, Kadir Usman, said on Saturday, June 15, 2019: “Our target is to reinstitute flights between Kupang and Darwin in 2019. This will hopefully happen in Q3 or Q4 as we have an airline interested in flying the service.”
The route connecting Kupang and Darwin was served in the past by the now-defunct Indonesian Airline Merpati Nusantara.
The Governor of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat, is lobbying for the reinstatement of a Kupang-Darwin air service within the framework of South-South cooperation.
Kadir said the infrastructure support at El Tari International Airport to facilitate the proposed new service was in place and ready to go.
Authorities in NTT are optimistic that their efforts in approaching Indonesian Air Carriers to operate the service will prove successful. To date the new service has been promoted to a number of Indonesian airlines, including Garuda Indonesia, Sriwijaya Airlines and Nam Air – all subsidiaries of the National Flag Carrier Garuda Indonesia.
The airlines are said to be studying the viability of the proposed services with promises from NTT authorities to assist any airline in securing necessary permits and licenses.
Kadir said efforts to persuade an airline to fly between Kupang and Darwin will intensify once current improvement programs at El Tari Airport are completed in a few months’ time.
New Flight Service From Kupang to Dili
TranNusa Air commenced a new twice-weekly air service connecting Kupang with Dili on Friday, June 14, 2019. The new service flies on Mondays and Fridays using ATR-72 Aircraft configured to carry 78 passengers.
The flights are being operated initially on a charter basis.