Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Garuda`s Ambon route expected to boost Maluku`s tourism

Themuch awaited reopening of national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia`s Ambon routein June is expected to have a significant effect on tourism in Maluku.

Starting June 1 this year, there will be regular flights from Jakarta to Ambon,Maluku province`s most prominent island with hilly terrain, covered in lushvegetation, has many idyllic spots and two crescent shaped bays, Baguala andAmbon bays.

"The planned reopening of Garuda Indonesia`s Jakarta-Ambon route with astopover in Makassar, South Sulawesi in the first week of June 2010 will have astrategic impact on the development of Maluku`s tourism," local cultureand tourism office spokesperson Florence Sahusilawane said in Ambon on Monday.

Sahusilawane expressed optimism that with the Garuda Indonesia`s new route tothe scenic eastern Indonesian city of Ambon, more foreign tourist in the run upto the international marine event of Sail Banda 2010 would come to Maluku.

Hendra Sumarno, the general manager of Garuda Indonesia`s Makassar branch, saidin Ambon over the weekend that the company was preparing the personnel neededto handle the reopened route.

In addition, an office of the national flag carrier would be opened next to theMutiara Hotel on Jalan Raya Pattimura in Ambon to give the best possibleservice to Garuda customers in Maluku.

Hendra Sumarno said Garuda flights to Ambon were scheduled to depart fromJakarta`s Soekarno-Hatta airport at 10 a.m. Western Indonesia Time (WIB) with astopover at Makassar`s Hassanudin airport before flying to Pattimura airport inAmbon, and return to Jakarta at 5 pm East Indonesia Time (WIT).

"We are to schedule Ambon-Jakarta flights in such a way that they willarrive in Jakarta a few hours before Garuda flights to Amsterdam take offbecause many foreign passengers from Ambon usually want to have connectingflights to the Netherlands," Sumarno said.

He said the Jakarta-Makassar-Ambon route would be served with aircraft having acapacity of 14 to 16 business-class seats and 120 economy-class seats.

Other airline companies flying to Ambon at present are Lion Air, Batavia Air,and Sriwijaya Air from Ambon-Makassar-Jakarta, Ambon-Surabaya-Jakarta, andAmbon-Jakarta.

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