The inaugural flight of AirAsia Indonesia landed at Singapore's Changi Airport Thursday, making it the third airline to start operations in Singapore this year. Aboard the flight from Pekanbaru, the capital city of Riau province, was the carrier's chief executive officer, Dharmadi, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.
"Last year, some 1.96 million visitor arrivals came from Indonesia, which accounted for nearly 20 per cent of the total visitors to Singapore," said Lim Kim Choon, director general of Singapore's Civil Aviation Authority.
Total passenger movements by air between Indonesia and Singapore reached 3.86 million in 2007, registering 6.5 per cent growth over 2006.
"The launch of Air Asia Indonesia's new service between the two countries is well-poised to capitalize on such strong growth," Lim said at the plane's welcoming ceremonies.
The carrier plans to operate 12 weekly flights to Singapore: six from Pekanbaru and subsequently six from Padang by the end of 2008.