Mon, 17 Oct 1994

Merpati to fly to Singapore from Yogyakarta next week

JAKARTA (JP): PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines, a subsidiary of Garuda Indonesia, will start twice-a-week service to Singapore from Yogyakarta through Bandung in West Java on Oct. 24, a company executive says.

"The new route will be served with Fokker-28 aircraft with a capacity of 64 seats," Merpati's manager for operations, Heru Santoso, announced in Yogyakarta on Saturday.

He said Merpati is also now preparing new direct flights from Surakarta (Solo) in Central Java to Singapore with Fokker-28 airplanes.

"We plan that flights for the two routes bound for Singapore will start at 7 a.m on Mondays and Thursdays, with estimated arrivals at 11:50 a.m.," Heru said as quoted by Antara news agency.

He expected that the flights from Surakarta to Singapore will start before the end of this year.

Heru said the new routes are part of the Indonesian- Singaporean air agreement, which was signed by Minister of Transportation Haryanto Dhanutirto and his Singaporean counterpart Mah Bow Tan last month in Yogyakarta.

Under the air agreement, whose signing was witnessed by President Soeharto and Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, five Indonesian airlines -- Garuda Indonesia, Merpati Nusantara, Sempati Air, Bouraq Indonesia and Mandala Airlines -- are allowed to take passengers from any points in Indonesia bound for Singapore and to proceed on flights to any destinations in the world.

Previously, only three Indonesian Airlines -- Garuda Indonesia, Merpati Nusantara and Sempati Air -- served flights to Singapore.

The new air bilateral deal, in return, allows Singapore Airlines and SilkAir of Singapore to fly directly to three more Indonesian cities -- Ujungpandang in South Sulawesi, Surakarta in Central Java and Mataram in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.

The two Singaporean airlines are also permitted to continue their existing services for 10 Indonesian cities: Denpasar, Medan, Surabaya, Manado, Padang, Pekanbaru, Pontianak, Ambon, Biak and Jakarta. (fhp)