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Families, friends count
down to holidays

As the Christmas and New Year holidays approach, many Indonesians have already bought tickets for their holiday travels and are counting down the days to the big break.

Many will return to their hometowns but others want to simply escape from the bustling capital city to exotic destinations.

Christina Sitanggang, a 28-year-old working for a private company in Central Jakarta, said that her family had been planning their Christmas holiday since early September and had bought airline tickets to Medan, North Sumatra.

“We have our tickets, we are ready to go, and we cannot wait to arrive in Medan because Christmas and New Year are the best time of the whole year as we spend it with our extended family. I do not mind spending millions of rupiah as long as I can meet [the family],” Christina told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

She said that she spent almost Rp 14 million (US$1,456) on Lion Air Jakarta–Medan return tickets for five people. She will be leaving Jakarta on the night of Dec. 23 and returning on New Year’s Day.

It is not only Christians who have prepared for their holidays a few months ahead of Christmas and the New Year, but also Muslims.

Farah Syabila, a 23-year-old medical student in one of the city’s private universities, said that she would go to the extremely popular tourist spots of Bali and Lombok at the end of December with her cousins and friends to welcome in the New Year.

She said that she had bought her Garuda Indonesia Jakarta–Bali, and Wings Air Bali–Lombok, tickets in mid-July with a total price tag of
Rp 4.6 million. “I have been setting aside almost half of my monthly allowance since July for this holiday. I think I will also use some of my savings to buy souvenirs for my parents,” she said.

Local airlines have announced they will provide additional seats to meet the surge in passenger traffic during the holidays.

National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia said that it would provide 11,000 extra seats for travelers from Dec. 22 to Jan. 7, 2013. President director Emirsyah Satar said the extra seats would be on flights from Jakarta to Yogyakarta; Padang, West Sumatra; Denpasar, Bali; Singapore and Hong Kong. “If the demand increases, we will add even more extra seats because we have implemented a flexible response policy that allows us to add flights on any route during the peak season,” Emirsyah said.

In addition, the country’s largest low-cost carrier Lion Air and its feeder Wings Air have committed to providing 30,000 extra seats during the holiday.

General affairs director Edward Sirait said the extra seats would be provided from the airline’s hubs in Jakarta and Surabaya, East Java.

From Jakarta, additional seats are available to Denpasar, Medan, Manado, Ambon, Yogyakarta, Surakarta, Semarang and Surabaya. From Surabaya, Lion Air and Wings will provide more seats to Denpasar, Balikpapan, Banjarmasin, Makassar and Kupang.

New low-cost carrier Citilink Indonesia also plans to add more flights from Jakarta to Denpasar and Medan during the holiday.

Citilink was able to increase its frequencies because it would take delivery of two new Airbus A320s in mid December, increasing its fleet to 21 aircraft, vice president of communications and marketing Aristo Kristandyo said.

“We will be able to increase our seat capacity from the current 12,000 to 17,000 seats daily in December,” Aristo said.

State-owned railway company PT KAI spokesman Sugeng Priyono said that the firm was set to add 4,568 more seats from Jakarta to Cirebon and Bandung, West Java and Surakarta, Central Java from Dec. 20 to Jan. 6, 2013.

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