The Jakarta Post
Hong Kong's national flag carrier Cathay Pacific said it could help bring more Chinese tourists to Indonesia with the launch of a new route to Denpasar next month by its subsidiary, Dragonair.
'We've seen an increase in the occupancy rate in our flights [from Hong Kong] to Denpasar, Bali,' Cathay Pacific country manager Patton Chan said in a media briefing on Thursday.
'Dragonair fly to a lot of cities in mainland China. We can help bring more Chinese tourists to Indonesia,' he added, citing that the airline flies to 47 destinations, including 22 cities, in mainland China.
'I hope they [Chinese tourists] don't just go to Bali but also to other parts of the country,' he continued.
Chan said the new scheduled flights by Dragonair would contribute 30 percent to Cathay Pacific's seat capacity to Bali.
Chan, however, said he couldn't disclose a figure on Cathay's Indonesian passenger growth as well as the target, only saying that the growth 'has been very encouraging' for the past 12 months.
Starting on April 27, Dragonair will commence a twice-weekly service to Denpasar with an Airbus A330-300 aircraft with business and economy class seats.
The airline is scheduled to serve the route every Thursday and Sunday.
The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry launched an Indonesia-China Tourism Years initiative in November 2013 to boost traveler numbers from the world's second-largest economy.
The ministry expects to attract 1 million Chinese travelers by the end of 2014.
During the briefing, Chan also disclosed the airline's 2013 financial performance, which recorded HK$2,620 million (US$337.47 million) in profit last year, increasing by more than 200 percent from HK$862 million in 2012.
He said changes in flight schedules and also exchanging old aircraft with fuel-efficient aircraft were the main contributors to the high profit increase last year.
'In 2012 we made a few changes to our business. We made several changes to our network, including changes in the flight schedule; and we started to operate fuel-efficient aircraft especially for the long haul routes,' Chan said.
He added that Indonesia had played a big role in increasing the airline's profits in terms of the rising number of passengers who flew with Cathay to many destinations around the world.
'For example, we have five wide body aircraft that fly daily from Hong Kong to London,' he said.
'Hong Kong has a population of between 6 to 10 million. There aren't so many people who want to go to that destination. So I think Indonesia contributes significantly to our occupancy,' he added.
Despite the thriving passenger business, the airline posted a 3.6 percent decrease in its cargo business to HK$23.7 billion last year from the year before.
The downfall resulted from the slowing global economy.