Bandung has become the third-largest hub for low-cost carrier AirAsia Indonesia (AAI) after Jakarta and Denpasar, a senior executive said Tuesday.
Bandung now serves more passengers than Surabaya and Medan.
AAI commercial director Widijastoro Nugroho said that the number of AAI’s passengers to and from Bandung showed significant increase, with 33 percent growth from 479,912 passengers in 2010 to 639,058 in 2011.
The largest increase was on the Bandung-Denpasar route, which had 65 percent growth, from 47,418 passengers to 78,119. Meanwhile, the Bandung-Kuala Lumpur route was still the busiest, with 142,280 passengers in 2011, an 8 percent increase on the previous year.
“I have always been optimistic about the Bandung market since we first flew there in 2004, connecting the city with Kuala Lumpur,” Widijastoro said.
“This is because Bandung is a tourism magnet that is not only loved by domestic tourists but also foreign ones for being a shopping and culinary haven.”
He was speaking from the sidelines of the maiden flight between Bandung, West Java, and the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya.
AAI uses Airbus A320 aircraft, with a capacity of 180 seats, for daily flights in the Bandung-Surabaya route.
On Feb. 10, flag carrier Garuda Indonesia also launched a Bandung-Surabaya route. Garuda uses a Boeing 737-500, with a capacity of 12 business-class seats and 84 economy-class seats.
From Bandung’s Husein Sastranegara International Airport, AAI operates flights to Medan, Denpasar and Singapore with twice-daily flights. The Bandung-Kuala Lumpur route is served three times daily.
Widijastoro said that the importance of Bandung to AAI was shown by placing two Airbus A320s at the airport, including Bandung-based engineers and cabin crew