Starting from this month, two of Indonesia’s most popular low-cost airlines will reopen their flight schedules, in response to the explosion in demand for travel since domestic restrictions were raised in Bali recently. To meet this demand, Citilink and AirAsia will provide services connecting Indonesia’s premier holiday destination with other locations such as Labuan Bajo, Lombok, Medan, Nias, Yogyakarta and Solo.
AirAsia reopened four of its original Bali routes on 1st September, extending travel networks from the Island of the Gods to Flores in East Nusa Tenggara, Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara, and the historic cities of Yogyakarta and Solo in Central Java. The airline has already been operating for three months, since domestic flight restrictions were lifted following Covid-19 lockdown earlier in the year.
“We continue to work hard to gradually normalise the operations of our customers’ favourite routes, starting with our Bali hub,” said AirAsia Indonesia president director Veranita Yosephine Sinaga in a statement published recently in the Jakarta Post.
To further incentivise travel during this revival period, AirAsia is offering a 20% discount on flights between 1st September and 6th December, with 15kg of complimentary checked baggage included. In an effort to ensure the safety of passengers and mitigate any further spread of Covid-19, the airline has expanded its rapid test stations to 33 locations around Indonesia; AirAsia customers can make use of the service, which is available for Rp 95,500 (US$6.46), by showing their booking code and identity card.
Other airlines have also integrated testing into their promotions recently, with Citilink offering free contact tests to the first 500 passengers to fly with them in July. The airline is prioritising passenger health through frequent disinfection and the use of high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.
Citilink has extended its domestic flight network even further, to include routes that connect the nation’s capital (Jakarta) with five destinations around the archipelago. These locations are Yogyakarta and Solo in Central Java (twice daily), Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara (once daily), and Bali (seven times daily). The airline will also resume flights from Medan to the popular surfing holiday destination of Nias (twice daily), both in Sumatra.
Earlier this summer, Citilink Indonesia president director Juliandra Nurtjahjo stated the airline was hoping to increase its flights to 200 per day by the fourth quarter of 2020 – about 68% of Citilink’s usual pre-pandemic traffic. The latest range of reopened flights brings the airline closer to its target, and – most importantly – brings Indonesian tourism aviation closer to normality.
The new flights from Citilink and AirAsia are indicative of growing demand for travel in Indonesia; the emphasis on Bali routes demonstrates the enduring appeal of the island and its rapid return to prominence in the minds of post-pandemic travellers, while new routes to other locations suggest these holidaymakers are beginning to look further afield for their vacations too. Both signs bode well for the future, as Indonesia continues to slowly but surely revive its tourism infrastructure.