AirAsia, Garuda cancel plan to relocate flights to Halim airport

Following the lead of national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, which nixed a plan to relocate flights from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Banten to the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport and Air Force Base in East Jakarta, low-cost carrier AirAsia Indonesia has announced it will not be relocating any of its flights to the Air Force base.

  • nixed – to stop, forbid, or refuse to accept something: I hoped to get the day off, but the boss nixed it.

Air Asia Indonesia communications manager Audrey Progastama said on Tuesday that the cancellation was based on inefficiency issues.

“We are temporarily canceling our plan to relocate some of our flights to Halim because we serve connecting flights from domestic destinations to international destinations. If we relocate some of our flights to Halim, it would cause trouble for connecting flight passengers and also affect the aircraft’s rotation as well,” Audrey said.

“We are currently reevaluating the plan and whether we will decide to relocate some of our flights in the near future.”

The low-cost carrier initially planned to relocate flights serving Yogyakarta, Medan (North Sumatra) and Surabaya (East Java) to Halim in April this year.

In January, Halim Perdanakusuma officially began serving commercial flights to reduce congestion at Soekarno-Hatta airport, the country’s main gateway, serving 1,120 flights per day.

Last week, national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia officially canceled its plan to move flights serving Yogyakarta, Semarang (Central Java), Surabaya, Palembang (South Sumatra) and Pontianak (West Kalimantan) to Halim.

Transportation Ministry air transportation director general Herry Bakti Gumay said that Garuda decided to cancel the plan due to the high cost of relocating the flights and that the airline wanted to keep its operations concentrated at Soekarno-Hatta.

“Relocating flights to Halim may be inefficient for some airlines but many carriers are still interested in relocating their flights to Halim. Lion Air had expressed their interest, even though they haven’t confirmed it,” Herry said.

The government aimed to move at least 72 flights per day from Soekarno-Hatta to Halim.

Up until now, however, only low-cost carrier Citilink Indonesia has relocated 16 of its scheduled flights to Halim.

In January, the carrier relocated flights serving Yogyakarta, Semarang, Malang (East Java) and Palembang.

PT Citilink Indonesia CEO Arif Wibowo said that since the airline was a newcomer in the business, it could better manage the flight slots at Halim.

Arif said that following Garuda’s cancellation, the airline aimed to take the provided slots from Garuda and add more flight slots for routes serving Yogyakarta, Semarang, Palembang and Malang from Halim.

“We are currently waiting for the green light from the Transportation Ministry,” Arif said, adding that both airlines had asked for the ministry’s approval for Citilink to get Garuda’s canceled slots at Halim.

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