The Jakarta Post
Silk Air, the regional wing of full-service carrier Singapore Airlines, will soon fly to two more cities in the archipelago, expanding its Indonesian network to 11 destinations by the end of this year.
The airline plans to offer three-times-weekly flights, connecting Singapore to Semarang, Central Java and Makassar, South Sulawesi.
The airline chief executive Leslie Thng said the Singapore-Semarang route would be introduced to the market on July 29 with Singapore-Makassar on Aug. 1.
'We are excited to add Makassar and Semarang into our extensive network in this part of the region. We are impressed with the growth of air travel to and from Indonesia and we are confident that the two new services will be well received,' he said.
The airline will operate Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft, featuring both business- and economy-class cabins, on the new routes. He said that both cities were important cities in Indonesia.
As the largest city of Central Java, Semarang is a commercial centre with an economy primarily anchored on trading, manufacturing and construction.
The city also boasted a unique combination of European influences and rich Asian culture and retained a mix of old-world charm and colorful culture, he said.
Meanwhile, Silk Air picked Makassar because it is the largest city in eastern Indonesia, making it the primary port and airline hub of the eastern part of the archipelago.
'It is home to many of Indonesia's ethnic groups including the Bugis and offers a multitude of historical gems, natural attractions as well as a variety of sightseeing opportunities within and beyond the city,'
Silk Air, which began operations to Indonesia back in August 1992, currently serves nine Indonesian destinations: Balikpapan, Bandung, Lombok, Manado, Medan, Palembang, Pekanbaru, Surakarta and Surabaya, with a variety of frequencies.
On the Singapore-Medan route, for example, it flies 15 times a week while with Singapore-Bandung it has one flight a day.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported recently that Silk Air's parent company Singapore Airlines, will raise its stake in Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd., deepening an alliance to take on the dominance of Qantas Airways Ltd. in the local market.
Singapore Air will buy 255.5 million Virgin Australia shares owned by Virgin Group for A$122.6 million (US$126 million), or 48 Australian cents apiece, the carrier said.
Singapore Air and Virgin Australia are widening their alliance to challenge the Qantas, which controls about 65 percent of the domestic travel market. Virgin Australia yesterday got approval to buy 60 percent of the local unit of Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd.