Garuda services director Faik Fahmi said on Wednesday that the full service airline planned to open a new route connecting Jakarta to Osaka next month as part of the collaboration.
“We plan to start the Jakarta–Osaka flight service on Nov. 8 to boost tourism, business, education and culture between the two countries in the long run,” he said in Jakarta on the sidelines of the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Shomei Yokouchi, governor of Yamanashi Prefecture, home for Mount Fuji, the icon of the country.
“We are going to fly four times a week from Jakarta to Osaka, thereby increasing flight frequencies between Indonesia and Japan,” Faik added.
The airline will operate its new Airbus A330-300 wide-body plane with a capacity of 300 passengers for the route.
He said Garuda currently provided four daily flights from the capital city and Denpasar, Bali, to Tokyo, both to Narita and Haneda International Airports.
Japan was one of the most important international route markets for the airline because it had connected Indonesia and Japan since 1962 and the passenger load factor was healthy, he added.
He also said the airline had recruited more crew from Japan over the past few years and provided Japanese cuisine on their flights to improve service.
Yokouchi said the agreement would strengthen not only tourism and business between Indonesia and Japan but would also boost other sectors, including sports.
He said both parties had started their collaboration with the Peach Blossom and South Alps Cycling Tour and the Fuji 5th Lake and Fuji Highland Cycling Tour in April this year.
“We have also promoted the importance of halal [permissible by Islam] food to every hospitality player in Yamanashi so that they can provide halal food to Muslim travelers from Indonesia,” he said.
According to Yokouchi, the number of Indonesians who travel to Japan stood at 61,000 in 2012, with half of them traveling for leisure, 20 percent for business and the rest for study.
The figure was relatively small compared to around 150,000 and 120,000 Indonesian tourist arrivals in Taiwan and South Korea in the same year.
“We are hoping to bring in more travelers from Indonesia to Japan in the future through this collaboration,” Yokouchi went on.
Meanwhile, Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry data said that the number of Japanese tourists traveling to the Southeast Asian country had reached 50,898 during the period of January–August 2013, up by almost one-fifth from 42,565 people in the same period last year. (Jakarta Post)