Following bi-lateral air talks held in Jakarta on Tuesday, May 25, 2005, Indonesia's Minister of Transportation, M. Hatta Radjasa, and his Singaporean counterpart, Yeo Cheow Tong, have agreed in principle to expand air access between the two countries.
While complete details of the agreement remain to be hammered out in implementation talks between the staffs of the two ministries, it is understood that when implemented Singapore-flagged air carriers will be allowed to increase flight frequencies and seat capacities between the city-state and Jakarta and Denpasar (Bali). Currently, Singapore Airlines and Valuair operate 126 flights each week between Singapore and Jakarta, with 42 weekly flights between Singapore and Denpasar flown by Singapore Airlines.
Meanwhile, the new agreement will also expand "fifth freedom" rights to Indonesian flag-carriers operating to Singapore. "Fifth Freedom" rights will allow Indonesian carriers to embark and disembark passengers in Singapore before flying on to a third country destination.
Garuda Indonesia - the Indonesian flag-carrier currently operates 234 flights each week to Singapore and is expected to use the expanded "fifth freedom" rights for onward flights to regional destinations, such as Hanoi, Shanghai, Beijing and Bangkok.
'No' to Low Cost Carriers
The latest bi-lateral agreement on air access reportedly contains a prohibition on expanding access by "low-cost air carriers (LCC)." As reported on balidiscovery.com, [Indonesia Says "No' To Open Skies with Singapore,] Minister Hatta has stated his opposition to increasing access by low cost airlines, seeing their operations as a threat to Indonesia's fledgling airline industry.
New Agreement Vitally Important to Bali
The promised liberalization of air access to Bali for Singapore Airlines (SIA) is seen as crucial to the local tourism industry. SIA operates one of the world's largest international fleet of aircraft with global marketing and passenger-uplift capabilities. Operating at consistently high traffic volumes to Bali and frustrated in past efforts to obtain more seat capacity to Bali, the new agreement is seen as enhancing air access to Bali from Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States – all markets served by the Singapore carrier.
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