Bali's Chairman of the Association of Indonesian Tour Agents (ASITA), Bagus Sudibya recently told the Indonesian-language Bali Post that Bali as a major international destination needs its own air carrier.
According to Sudibya, in order to preserve its share Bali needs its own airline capable of carrying tourists directly from strategic markets, such as Europe. While foreign carriers waste no time in curtailing flight frequencies whenever a problem, such a bird flu, emerges, the ASITA Chairman believe that a Bali-owned airline would have greater staying power in the face of events that cause other airlines to think only of profit and loss in deciding whether or not to maintain flight frequency levels.
Citing Singapore and Thailand as positive examples of how locally-owned carriers increase European tourist markets, Sudibya said that following the cessation of Garuda's European services Bali has become increasingly dependent on foreign carriers.
At present, Air Paradise International, owned by Balinese businessman, I Madť Kadek Wiranantha, is the only "Balinese owned" airline operating international passenger services. Air Paradise operates a number of services in the Asia Pacific region but has yet to add any European destinations to its schedule.
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