Mon, 30 Oct 2000

Garuda resumes flights to Seoul after long halt

JAKARTA (JP): State-owned airline Garuda Indonesia resumed on Sunday flights from Jakarta to Seoul after a more than two-year suspension of the route.

Company spokesman Pujobroto said in a statement on Sunday Garuda had resumed its Jakarta-Seoul service following an increase in passenger and cargo traffic between the two countries, as well as the financial recovery the airline was enjoying.

Garuda suspended the Jakarta-Seoul route in February 1998 at the peak of the economic crisis, along with other 16 international routes to the United States, Taipei, Paris, Rome, Zurich and Saigon, among others.

Pujobroto said that beginning on Sunday, Garuda would offer direct flights from Jakarta to Seoul on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The aircraft will depart Jakarta at 10:30 p.m. and arrive in Seoul at 7:05 a.m. local time.

Return flights from Seoul to Jakarta will be offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, departing at 9:50 a.m. local time and arriving at 2:50 p.m.

Garuda will increase the number of flights on the route to four per week in December this year, with an additional flight from Jakarta to Seoul on Fridays, and from Seoul to Jakarta on Saturdays.

According to Pujobroto, Garuda will initially use wide-body DC-10 aircraft to serve the Jakarta-Seoul route, but the aircraft will be replaced with A-330 aircraft in April 2001.

Before Sunday, the route was served by Korean Airlines under a code-sharing agreement with Garuda, with seven flights per week.

Under the agreement, Garuda sold passenger seats and cargo space on the Korean Airlines flights.

Pujobroto said the number of air passengers from Korea to Indonesia rose 34 percent in 1999, while the number of passengers traveling from Indonesia to Korea increased 29 percent on the year.

Most Seoul-Jakarta travelers are businesspeople, while the majority of Jakarta-Seoul travelers are tourists, according to Pujobroto.

He said the number of people traveling between the two countries was projected to rise to 128,000 in 2001. He added that this figure was expected to rise further to 132,000 in 2002 and 136,000 in 2003.

He said cargo traffic between the two countries had also shown steady growth.

Air cargo from Seoul to Jakarta currently averages 216 tons per month, or seven tons per day, while air cargo transported on the Indonesia-South Korea-United States route averages 21 tons per day, according to him. (jsk)