Hotel operators on Bali's nearest neighbor to the East, Lombok, have complained that reduced air seat capacity to the island caused booked rooms on the island to be lost during the recent May long-weekend holidays, when customers were unable to obtain confirmed seats to Mataram, the island's sole airport.
According to the Chief of Tourism for West Lombok, Drs. Tjok Suthendra Rai, flight seat capacity to Bali is operating at half of the capacity estimated necessary to serve expected tourist loads in June.
A lack of air seats between Bali and Lombok is further aggravated by the cessation of ferry service from Benoa (Bali) to Lembar (Lombok) offered by the daily fast-ferry service Mabua Express. The fast ferry withdrew service on January 7, 2003, fueling speculation in local nautical circles that the daily ferry service operated by Mabua may be permanently suspended.
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