Rizki Fachriansyah, Jakarta – State-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II has recorded a rise in low-cost carrier (LCC) international flights departing from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, since January, signaling a thriving climate for overseas travel amid public furor over skyrocketing ticket prices for domestic routes.
The company said in a statement that the LCCs operating at the airport had attracted a combined 3.16 million passengers between Jan. 1 and Sept. 20 – a 4 percent increase from the 3.04 million recorded in the same period last year.
Furthermore, the company also reported that 22,805 flights had departed from the airport between Jan. 1 and Sept. 20 – a 6 percent increase from the 21,517 recorded in the corresponding period last year.
"The market has responded positively to various international routes offered by LCCs. Angkasa Pura II has supported the market growth by designating Terminal 2F for LCCs on May 1," said Angkasa Pura II spokesperson Yado Yarismano, adding that Soekarno-Hatta airport would optimize the utilization of its assets in an effort to jack up the international LCC market.
Passengers previously complained about domestic airfares that went through the roof earlier this year, forcing the government to take various measures, including lowering the ticket price ceiling and pushing national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia to cut its airfares. The soaring prices prompted passengers to opt for other means of transportation, such as cars and ferries, during the Idul Fitri exodus in June, causing a dip in domestic air passenger numbers.
Yado said 60 percent of the passengers departing from Soekarno-Hatta were millennials – the LCCs' demographic target.
"Since the launch of Terminal 2F for budget airlines, LCC flights have managed to increase their efficiency, achieving 82 percent on on-time performance," he stated.
Angkasa Pura II designated Terminal 2F at Soekarno-Hatta for LCCs in May. The State-Owned Enterprises Ministry, the Transportation Ministry and the Tourism Ministry approved the initiative, deeming it a part of efforts to lure more foreign tourist arrivals.
The airport operator aims to accommodate more passengers in the terminal – from the current capacity of 9 million passengers per year to 20 million.
AirAsia Group, Lion Air Group, Jetstar, Citilink, Cebu Pacific and Scoot are among budget airlines offering international routes from the airport. The LCCs operate a total of 104 international flights – 51 departures and 53 arrivals – per day or four flights per hour.
The majority of international LCC departures from Soekarno-Hatta are bound for neighboring Southeast Asian countries, as well as China. Yado said his company had discussed possibilities of extending its services for LCCs with long-haul flights.
Citilink will be among the first budget airlines to offer long-haul flights as it will launch a new flight between Jakarta and Frankfurt, Germany, sometime between October and December, Yado said.
"We aim to further integrate technology into the LCC Terminal 2F, offering customers alternative services such as web check-ins, self check-ins and self bag-drops, among other things," he said.