The nation’s flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has opened a new route to China between Bali’s Denpasar and Shanghai starting on Wednesday.
Earlier Garuda already had regular flights between Denpasar and Beijing and between Denpasar and Guangzhou.
Commercial Director of Garuda Indonesia, Handayani, said in a statement on Thursday China has been one of the focuses for international flights of the airline aiming to facilitate tourists from the world’s most populous country.
China is one of the most potential tourism markets in the world with around 100 million Chinese traveling abroad every year.
The number of Chinese visitors to Indonesia has increased from year to year – up 25 percent on year in the first eight months of 2015.
“Chinese are the second largest in number after Australians visiting Bali every year. Certainly China is a potential market for Garuda,” Handayani said.
Garuda Indonesia serves the Denpasar – Shanghai route three times a week round trips every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday using A330-300 aircraft with a seat capacity of b360 passengers.
The first flight by GA 858 took off at 16.15 local time from Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport and arrived in Shanghai at 23.30 local time on Wednesday. Meanwhile, GA 859 took off from Shanghai at 01.00 and landed at Denpasar at 08.35 local time on Thursday.
The opening of the new route is expected to contribute to reaching the country’s target of increasing the number of foreign tourists to 12 million in 2016 and 20 million in 2020.
From Denpasar as a hub of Garuda Indonesia, foreign tourists could proceed to other tourist destinations in the country such as Lombok, Makassar, Menado, Labuan Bajo, and Yogyakarta, Handayani said.
Including from Jakarta, Garuda serves 10 direct flights per week from Indonesia to Shanghai.
Altogether Garuda serves 26 flights from Indonesia to China a week with the three destinations – Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, via Jakarta and Denpasar.
In the flights to the Chinese cities, Garuda uses Chinese nationals as cabin crew to make it easier in communications with Chinese passengers.
Garuda also plans to serve charter flights from Chinese cities like Chengdu, Chong Qin, Hefei, Kunming, Ningbo, Zhengzhou, Shenyang, Jinan, Tianjing, Taiyuan, and Xian to Indonesia in January and March, 2016.
In February, 2015, and July in the same year, Garuda Indonesia already opened charter flights from Chengdu, Chong Qin, Ningbo, Kunming, Junan, Harbin, Xian, Shenyang dan Chengzhou to Denpasar and Manado.