Fri, 25 Feb 2000

Qantas passengers drop 50%

JAKARTA (JP): Australian airline Quantas said it has suffered a 50 percent drop in the number of passengers traveling to Indonesia, largely due to the January riots in tourist destination Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.

Quantas district manager I Made Tantra Widjaya said on Thursday the recent riots in the city of Mataram in Lombok, prompted several countries, including Australia, to issue a travel ban to the island, resulting in Quantas' drop in passengers to Indonesia.

"With this travel ban, many Australian tourists canceled their visits to Bali and other Indonesian destinations," I Made was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

The island of Lombok, located only miles from Bali, was rocked by riots last month after a Muslim gathering to protest religious clashes in Maluku turned violent.

He said the drop in passengers to Indonesia, in particular Bali, forced Quantas to reduce its flights from Bali to Australia.

"Quantas now only serves 15 flights a week, from 16 flights two weeks ago," he said. (03)