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Merpati Airline and Batavia Air Appointed to Fly Between Bali and Dili, East Timor.

Bali News: Bali, Indonesia, Dili, Timor, Timor Leste, Merpati Nusantara, Batavia Air, Tony Aulia Achmad, Hasudungan Pandiangan
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The Indonesian government has appointed Merpati Nusantara Airlines and Batavia Air to serves the international air segment between Bali and Dili, East Timor. A total of 14 flights per week will ply the route with Merpati flying a daily service using aBoeing 737-300 carrying 138 passengers.

Quoted in Nusa Bali, Tony Aulia Achmad, executive commercial vice-president of Merpati, said, "we've now made this a regular flight, later we will increase the frequency to 10 times a week."

Merpati's price of a round trip ticket for the Denpasar-Dili route is US$348. Achmad says the service is achieving a 85% load factor with 60% of all passengers commercial travelers. "85% is the occupancy average both coming and going. On weekends the load factor becomes 100%," Achmad added.

Batavia Air is in the process of securing permits for the Denpasar-Dili sector which they intend to start flying in December 2010 using an Airbus A319 with 144 passenger seats.

Hasudungan Pandiangan, commercial director of Batavia Air, said, "at this time we are obtaining permits from the Department of Transportation and flight authority from the Timor Leste government. " Pandiangan asserted that Batavia's ticket prices would be less expensive that Merpati. He said his airline would pursue four specific market segments with their Bali to Timor service: students, business people, families and tourists. "These are the markets that are growing and there are other markets we have yet to address," Pandiangan said.

Merpati suspended schedule air service between Bali and Dili in 2000 following the outbreak of civil unrest in the new nation. Since that time Merpati has operated "regular" charter services seeking fight permission from Indonesia and Timor Leste on a flight-by-flight basis.

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