Bali-owned Air Paradise International (API) have signed a memorandum of understanding with the provincial government of Lombok that will, in principle, clear the way for a transit stop once a week on their scheduled flight services from Melbourne and Perth to Bali.
Under the terms of the agreement, landing fees during the initial six months of flights, once they are commenced, will be waived saving the airline an estimated US$ 500 per flight.
Details of when exactly the new "Lombok option" for Australian holidaymakers will become available to API passengers remains vague with the local press reporting that the proposed service would be operated with a Boeing 737-400 aircraft.
API reports loads averaging 74% on its flights between Melbourne and Bali and 80% on its Perth-Bali sector.
Lombok's tourism sector has suffered dramatic downturns in tourist flows following the October 2002 terrorist attack in Bali and the SARS panic during the second quarter of 2003. Additional direct international air access to the island is seen as critical to Lombok's tourism industry development.
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