Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA News) - Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said the flight route of Kupang-Darwin would be reopened to facilitate exports of fish from the province.

During his visit to East and West Nusa Tenggara to inspect port and airport facilities in the two provinces on Sunday, the minister said the government would first build an economic base in Kupang by increasing fish shipments to Jakarta and Surabaya.

"We know there is connectivity between Kupang and Darwin, but I want first to gather traders and fishermen to increase shipments of fish to Surabaya and Jakarta. When the commercial activities have expanded we begin exports to Darwin," he said.

The minister said at least it would take three months to develop fishery business before the province is ready to export fish to the northern Australian city.

East Nusa Tenggara Governor Frans Lebu Raya appreciates the government attention to development of regional economy, saying he hoped flights between Kupang and Darwin could be reopened.

The route was quite alive in the 1990s linking Kupang, Dili of Timor Leste and Darwin. Later it was closed and was reopened in 2013 served by state-owned Merpati Nusantara Airlines but the airline has stopped operation after being declared bankrupt later .(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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