KOTA KINABALU: Batik Air will start flying direct from Jakarta Soekarno – Hatta International Airport (CGK) to Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) twice a week following its successful inaugural flight yestrday.
Kota Kinabalu was chosen as its new destination as part of the plan to expand its international network.
Early this month, Batik Air flew to two new Indonesian destinations, Silangit in North Sumatra and Labuan Bajo on the Island of Flores in East Tenggara.
Managing director of Malaysia Airports, Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, said the new flight route would benefit both countries well.
“We are happy to see yet another airline adding Kota Kinabalu as their destination after the consolidation of operations under one terminal back in 2015.
“Based on our records, total passenger traffic movements in BKI have experienced good growth registering 7.3 million from January to November 2017, increasing by 11.2% over the same period last year.
“In fact, international passenger traffic movements have seen even more robust growth. During the same period, BKI registered 2.3 million international passenger traffic movements, an increase of 22.1% from last year.
“We are glad to see this increase, especially after our pledge in the last two years to further support the development of tourism in Sabah by intensifying efforts to promote Sabah as a destination,” said Badlisham.
He added tourism in Sabah is at its peak right now with each town offering fabulous local activities combining nature and culture.
“This new route introduced by Batik Air is timely for its passengers from Indonesia to enjoy Sabah at its best,” he said.
President Director of Batik Air, Captain Achmad Luthfie, shared the same thoughts on the current high demand for tourism and business destinations and said that this new route will contribute to the economic growth, especially for Indonesia.
He said that based on the forecasted passenger load factor for this new CGK-BKI route, there’s also a high possibility for the flight frequency to increase to seven times per week from its introductory flight schedule of twice per week.
“On top of that, Batik Air also plans to develop more new routes to East Malaysia such as Kuching,” Captain Achmad added.
Batik Air will use its fleet of Airbus A320 or Boeing 737-900 ER to operate its new route.
Batik Air currently serves more than 35 domestic destinations in Indonesia, as well as international destinations such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Chennai and Perth.
They have a fleet size of 51 aircraft that fly a total of 280 flights daily.