Garuda Indonesia plans to open direct flights to Bali from US, India, and France

A plane from the Garuda Indonesia fleet. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A plane from the Garuda Indonesia fleet. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia plans to open direct flights to Denpasar from cities in France, India and the US to boost tourism in the country, the airline’s CEO said yesterday.

“[Garuda Indonesia] and the Tourism Ministry have agreed that in order to attract foreign tourists, one of the only clear ways is to introduce direct flights to Denpasar,” Garuda CEO Irfan Setiaputra said during a hearing with the House of Representatives (DPR) in Jakarta. 

The direct flights will connect Bali with American cities, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as Indian cities, such as Mumbai and New Delhi, and even Paris. Irfan said the cities were chosen based on their spending capabilities. 

“Americans and Europeans have large spending capabilities compared to other countries. They also tend to spend a long time [for holidays] of about two weeks,” Irfan added. 

Irfan first sounded off the plan during a virtual discussion organized by marketing consulting firm MarkPlus, which was held last month. 

The plan would be focused on opening direct flights to and from Bali and launching more accommodating flight schedules that would help ease travelers’ holiday planning, such as departures in the evenings and arrivals before noon. 

Bali’s economy is among the hardest hit in Indonesia amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with officials citing massive decline in tourism as the main reason behind the slowdown. According to Rizki Ernadi Wimanda, deputy chief of Bank Indonesia’s (BI) Bali office, tourism contributes between 54 to 58 percent to the province’s economy.

The popular holiday destination was also among the top destinations people are listing for when travel returns to normal after the pandemic, according to Dutch online ticketing company Booking.com.

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CITY: BALICATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: BUSINESS, TRANSPORTATION

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