Privately-owned airline TransNusa Air Services will open routes linking the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) provincial capital of Kupang with the East Timorese capital of Dili and the northern Australian town of Darwin, an executive said Saturday.
“We will buy six more Fokker aircraft to serve the Kupang-Dili and Kupang-Darwin routes in the fourth quarter this year,” TransNusa business development manager Budhy Syahroni Karsidin said in Kuta, Bali, on Saturday.
After acquiring an air operator certificate (AOC) and scheduled commercial airline permit in August 2011, TransNusa is required to have 10 airplanes. The airline currently focuses on routes in eastern Indonesia has six aircraft consisting of four Fokker 50 twin-turboprops and two BAe 146-200 jetliners.
“We will use the AOC to prepare for airline competition through the ASEAN Open Sky policy,” Budhy said at a corporate and agent gathering held by the airline.
The airlines lists 37 routes in eastern Indonesia and so far has served about 50 percent of the routes, especially to islands in NT such as Flores, Ruteng, Labuhan Bajo, Maumere, Waingapu and Alor.
As those routes normally involve weather obstacles, TransNusa has hired Mike Binen from the Netherlands as engineering director. Binen has 25 years of experience with Dutch aircraft maker Fokker.
“We recruited the Dutch expert because we prioritize passengers’ safety, security and convenience in our service,” Budhy said.
As of December 2011, the airline has operated a direct flight linking Kupang with the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar.
“Previously, passengers from Kupang flying to Makassar had to stop over in Denpasar or Surabaya. Now we are providing a direct flight,” Budhy said.
The airline was established in 2005 by operating aircraft chartered from Pelita Air Service and Trigana Air. (nvn)