Singapore and Indonesia ink a new open skies deal

Singapore — Based Straits Times reported last week that Singapore and Indonesia have agreed to expand air links, opening up the skies between the two nations to new routes, more frequent flights and lower fares.

Indonesian airlines, including national carrier Garuda and budget airline Lion Air, have also been given permission to fly from Singapore to other Asian destinations, subject to Indonesian government approval, according to a report in the Straits Times.

Singapore’s Changi Airport announced last Thursday it had enjoyed its busiest year in 2012, handling a record 51.2 million passengers and underscoring its position as a regional aviation hub.The Singapore-Jakarta route is Changi’s busiest, with over 1,000 flights operated by 16 airlines each week. The route is the world’s second-busiest international air link after Hong Kong-Taipei.

Changi’s next busiest routes are to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Manila.

Travel agents and airlines have welcomed news of the deal and the possibility of more routes between Singapore and second-tier Indonesian cities.

“The Singapore-Jakarta market is mainly business traffic and people visiting friends and relatives, but there is very good potential to market places like Bandung and Surabaya for leisure travellers,” CTC Travel’s Alicia Seah told the Straits Times.

Tiger Airways managing director in Singapore, Ho Yuen Sang, said that the deal means “more access” for the budget carrier, while Lion Air president director Rusdi Kirana said his airline hopes to increase its daily Jakarta-Singapore services from six to 10 or 12.

Lion Air made a US$22.4 billion order for 230 single-aisle Boeing jets in February last year. Mr Rusdi said it would be interested in flying routes from Singapore to other Asian destinations, including Thailand.

“From Singapore to Bangkok and Hong Kong are some markets we would be keen to explore,” he said.[]

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