ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Indonesia airline set to improve inter-connectivity service
"Sulawesi is considered the economic hub of eastern Indonesia. Therefore, we are aiming to expand our business there to spread inter-connectivity in the province," said Garuda Indonesia president and CEO Emirsyah Satar in Makassar, South Sulawesi yesterday.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting, hosted by the Sulawesi Regional Development Cooperation Agency (BKPRS), which was attended by former vice president Jusuf Kalla, South Sulawesi Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo, West Sulawesi Governor Anwar Adnan Saleh, Central Sulawesi Governor Longki Djanggola and Southeast Sulawesi Governor Nur Alam.
Garuda, which is seeking not only to add new domestic routes, but also aims to develop a number of supporting facilities under its subsidiaries.
The Garuda Maintenance Facility, for instance, will construct aircraft hangars in Makassar for aircraft maintenance, while PT Aerowisata will establish hotels in Makassar, South Sulawasi; Gorontalo and Manado in North Sulawesi; and Kendari in Southeast Sulawesi.
Aerowisata will develop the province's tourism, launch cargo services and build a cold storage facility in Makassar. Garuda itself intends to open a school to train flight attendants and a flight school for pilot training in South Sulawesi.
Garuda is expected to gradually expand its services, which will be operated by its strategic business unit, Citilink Indonesia. Up to now, Citilink has served routes from Makassar to four cities across Sulawesi. Two additional destinations will be introduced in the coming year.
As for Garuda, it aims to increase its services from 20 to 34 destinations by 2015.
The four governors expressed their support for Garuda's plan, saying that they were ready to build infrastructure, such as transforming the airports in their regions into international standard airports as well as extending runways, taxiways and passenger terminal buildings.
It is hoped that the improved aviation services will attract more investors and business start-ups to Sulawesi.
Limpo said he would lengthen the runway at the Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport and add up to 50 per cent extra capacity in the passenger terminal.
"We will also work on renovating Garuda's hangar in Makassar," said Limpo.
The three other governors shared similar views, saying they were ready to improve their current airports and even build new airports in some areas.
The meeting, led by Kalla, yielded a five-point agreement called the Makassar Declaration, which was signed by all attending governors, while Satar and Kalla acted as witnesses.
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