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Garuda Indonesia to boost flights to Japan

by Minoru Matsutani

Staff Writer

Garuda Indonesia will continue to expand operations in Japan as the country’s increasing business interests in Indonesia boost traffic between the two countries, Emirsyah Satar, the president of the airline, said Tuesday.

“I feel there will be more growing traffic between Japan and Indonesia,” said Satar, who came to Tokyo to promote new flights connecting Haneda and Jakarta, scheduled to start June 16. “We see a lot of opportunities in the Haneda-Jakarta flights, mainly business travelers.”

Garuda Indonesia will begin a daily round-trip flight between Haneda and Jakarta from June 16, using A330-300 aircraft. These seven round trips a week are in addition to the 32 Garuda Indonesia Japan flights already in operation.

The airline currently has daily Narita-Jakarta, Narita-Denpasar, Haneda-Denpasar and Osaka-Denpasar flights, and flies between Osaka and Jakarta four days a week.

Japan and Indonesia have close business ties, which will increase the number of both business travelers and tourists, Satar said. Japanese direct investment in Indonesia almost doubled to $4.7 billion in 2013 from $2.5 billion a year earlier.

Japan replaced Singapore as the largest investor in Indonesia in 2013.

Traffic is increasing between the two countries. Some 137,000 Indonesians visited Japan in 2013, up 36 percent from 101,000 in 2012, Satar said. In 2013, 480,000 Japanese visited Indonesia, compared with 445,000 in 2012, he said.

In an effort to increase Indonesian travelers to Japan, Garuda Indonesia arranged to send some 50 Indonesian cyclists to a cycling event in Ehime Prefecture earlier this month.

Asked if Garuda Indonesia, which has been flying to Japan since 1962, is planning to expand its Japanese business, Satar said: “We are always looking to expand into other cities.”