The Jakarta Post
The wing of a Lion Air Boeing 737-900 is viewed flying to Changi Airport in Singapore on May 19, 2016. Tourism Minister Arief Yahya made a visit to the country's biggest low-cost carrier on Thursday. (Shutterstock.com/Aumphotography)
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya made a visit to the headquarters of the country's biggest low-cost carrier, Lion Air, in Jakarta on Thursday.
He was greeted by the company's co-founder Rusdi Kirana who was accompanied by Lion Group CEO Edward Sirait, Lion Air CEO Rudy Lumingkewas, Wings Air CEO Achmad Hasan, Malindo (Malaysia) CEO Rama Chandra, and Thai Lion Air CEO Darsito Hendroseputro with whom Yahya met in Bangkok during the WTTC-UNWTO Ministerial Dialogue.
“The Manado-China route currently has three flights per day and is able to carry 2,400 foreign tourists,” Rusdi told the minister.
Rusdi discussed the lack of hotels in Manado, North Sulawesi, to accommodate tourists and recommended state-owned enterprises (BUMN) such as WIKA build hotels in Manado with financing from BUMN banks.
“Lion Air is willing to book and make sure that those hotel rooms are occupied,” he declared.
Rusdi also made the suggestion that Boulevard Manado have a daily cultural performance and to make the airport in Gorontalo an alternate port of entry for Manado.
Lion Air Group’s Batik Air is ready to fly to Silangit Airport in North Sumatra once the runway extension construction is complete, which is slated for September, he said.
Meanwhile, Arief urged Lion Air Group to open a new route to Tanjung Pandan in Belitung since the airport has been upgraded to international status. Malindo Air is said to be interested in flying there from Subang Airport in Malaysia.
The minister also asked the company to open more routes to Bali and Lombok from Kuala Lumpur, as well as a direct flight from India. “In 2016 there were 300,000 tourists from India that came to Indonesia even though there wasn’t a direct flight available,” Arief said.
Both the Tourism Ministry and Lion Air Group will also partner in a media placement initiative in countries where Lion Air Group airlines offer their services, such as China and Thailand. (kes)