JAKARTA - Indonesia's budget airlines of Lion Air has opened a new flight service to China's city of Sanya in southern Hainan province from capital Jakarta, adding dozens of routes linking cities in the two nations the airlines has operated so far.
Lion Air Group Spokesperson Andy M. Saladin said that the new flight service has commenced on Saturday, departing from Jakarta to Sanya.
In the following days Sanya-bound flights would be served from Jakarta on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Meanwhile the Jakarta-bound flights from Sanya would be conducted on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, he added.
Andy said the Jakarta-Sanya flight service resulted from a charter flight cooperation between Lion Air Group with Hainan United Airlines Travel Group Co. Ltd., expected to transport some 50,000 visitors from Sanya to Indonesia.
He added that besides Jakarta, the flight service would eventually open a new route linking Bali capital of Denpasar with Sanya.
The latest flight service to Sanya has added Lion Air's charter flight services connecting Indonesian cities of Denpasar, Manado, Balikpapan, Batam and Jakarta to Chinese cities of Changsa, Nanchang, Wuhan, Xiaoshan, Guangzhou, Luogang, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Jiangbei among others.
"This is part of our commitments to help the development of Indonesian tourism sector," Andy said.
Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya hailed the opening of Jakarta-Sanya charter flight, saying that it fits with his ministry's three main programs to develop tourism, consisting of air connectivity development, digital marketplace and homestay villages.
"We have urged national airlines to be more aggressive in opening new flight routes to destinations across the country in addressing air connectivity," the minister said.
According to the minister air connectivity is essential to boost arrival of foreign visitors as 80 percent of their arrivals are conducted via air transport.
China is an ultimate tourism market to Indonesia as visitors from the nation have dominated arrivals of foreign visitors to Indonesia in the past several months.