TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia will soon open the Timika-Sorong-Manado route with three flights per week, stated Head of the Mimika air communications office John Rettob.
"It is good news for the users of air transportation service that from August 15, 2014, Garuda will commence its first flight from Timika to Sorong and Manado," Rettob noted on Monday as reported by Antara News.
He explained that Garuda will operate the CRG-1000 plane, which will have 84 economy class seats and 12 business class seats to serve the new route from Timika to Sorong and Manado in North Sulawesi.
Rettob remarked that Garuda will take over the Timika-Sorong-Manado route, which was last operated in February by Merpati Nusantara, a government airline that had stopped operations as it was facing financial difficulties.
He added that Merpati Nusantara had halted operations in the region since February, and the transport ministry has offered several routes left vacant by Merpati to other airlines.
Garuda Indonesia and Sriwijaya Air have indicated their interest to operate these routes.
Garuda Indonesia sought approval to operate the Jakarta-Makassar-Timika-Jayapura route on a daily basis while Sriwijaya Air has opted to operate the Timika-Sorong-Manado route thrice a week.
The Moses Kilangin airport authority in Timika has agreed to a time slot arrangement for the two airlines.
However, Rettob stated that as of now, Sriwijaya Air had not yet coordinated with the Mimika district administration on its proposal to serve the Timika-Sorong-Manado route, and therefore, Garuda will start operating the route.
Meanwhile, Garuda General Manager for the Timika branch Dedy Setiadi remarked that the company has acquired the time slot from Timikas Moses Kilangin Airport to operate the route.
Setiadi pointed out that the Timika-Sorong-Manado route will be served with three flights per week since the demand for this route is significantly high.
According to Setiadi, Garuda has also acquired a time slot from the Sorong Airport to operate a similar type of its airplane to serve the Jayapura-Sorong-Manado route.