West Nusa Tenggara Governor Zainul Majdi says he hopes Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia will soon fly to Lombok, after officiating the new Lombok International Airport on Saturday.
“I’ve met with one of [AirAsia's] directors and he told me that AirAsia will soon land at BIL [Lombok International Airport], starting in early 2012 but I asked him to start in October, as soon as the airport commenced operations,” Zainul said, as quoted by Antara.
He added that he would continue to try to “persuade” AirAsia to implement its plan to fly to the island sooner, saying this desire was shared by many.
Although Lombok sits just next to Bali, flight fares to and from the island are still quite expensive, with only a few local airlines serving the route. They are Batavia Air, Lion Air, Garuda Indonesia and Merpati Nusantara Airlines.
The replacement of the old Selaparang Airport with the new Lombok International Airport, which is significantly larger than the former, is expected to boost flights to the island as it can handle a higher turnover of bigger aircraft.
Zainul said that the new airport was expected to help boost tourism in the island, which had been enjoying growing popularity among both local and foreign tourists over the years, as well as support trade activities and the sending of West Nusa Tenggara migrant workers overseas.