Malaysia’s budget airline Air Asia is eyeing to set Lombok International Airport (LIA) in West Nusa Tenggara as its airline hub for the domestic and international flight. The corporate will open two new international routes, such as Singapore-Lombok and Perth-Lombok to actualise the plan, said Air Asia Indonesia president director Dendy Kurniawan.
“We will prepare two stand-by aircraft at the Lombok International Airport in early March,” said Dendy in the Economic Special Zone (KEK) of Mandalika, Central Lombok, Thursday, January 17.
Dendy said the new route is part of efforts carried out by the low-cost carrier to promote Lombok tourism and accelerate the recovery process post the devastating disaster. However, he mentioned that the company still requires government’s support, including flight slots, promotion support, and facility procurement in LIA.
“We also need several permits from the Governor related to flight schedules,” he added.
The travel and tourism industry in Indonesia is expected to speed up during 2019 after consumer confidence hit a two year high towards the end of 2018. The increased rate of growth is predicted to be sustained throughout the forecast period. The Indonesian travel & tourism industry is expected to generate total revenues of $64.0bn in 2018, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% between 2013 and 2018. In comparison, the Thai and Chinese industries will grow with CAGRs of 4.9% and 6.2% respectively, over the same period, to reach respective values of $99.9bn and $1,533.4bn in 2017.[Marketline Report, 2018]
Currently, Air Asia has five airline hubs throughout Indonesia. West Nusa Tenggara Governor Zulkieflimansyah pinned hope Lombok as an airline hub will generate positive impacts for the region considering it broadens the access of tourism destinations and has a potential to increase foreign tourist arrival.
Australia is expanding efforts to encourage two-way tourism between Australia and Indonesia as a critical driver of shared economic growth and more knowledge of each other’s country. Australian tourism can help Indonesia realise that vision. More than a million Australians visit Indonesia every year. Australian tourists contribute 18 trillion IDR (AUD$1.8 billion) a year to the Indonesian economy. As Indonesia seeks to develop its tourism industry beyond Bali, ease of travel is integral to its success. Indonesia has already experienced a 19 per cent increase in tourists from countries which have a granted visa-free access. A quarter of all tourists to Bali are Australian.
What are the next direct flights to Lombok?
In addition to the airline AirAsia, the NTB Provincial Government also cooperates with the national airline Lion Air to realise direct flights from Guangzhou, China to Lombok and Lombok to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Including, for domestic routes, Lion Air and Wings Air are ready to open direct routes Lombok – Labuan Bajo, NTT and Bima – Labuan Bajo.