Banyuwangi, E Java (ANTARA News) - The management of budget carrier company Air Asia has expressed the corporation`s readiness to open direct flights from and to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"We will send a follow-up team to discuss the planned development of Banyuwangi Airport. If the infrastructure to make it an international airport is ready, then we are ready to open Kuala Lumpur-Banyuwangi flights. We seek to attract travelers from Australia and China, because Kuala Lumpur is Air Asia`s biggest hub," Executive Chairman of Air Asia, Berhad Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, noted while visiting Banyuwangi Airport on Thursday.

While visiting the first airport with green concept in Indonesia, he stated that his visit was intended to see first-hand the development of Banyuwangi Airport in the framework of business development.

During his visit to the sub-district, often dubbed as the `Sunrise van Java,` he was accompanied by Air Asia`s CEO in Indonesia, Dendi Kurniawan, while Banyuwangi Sub-district Head Abdullah Azwar Anas, who was participating in an event at the Ministry of National Development Planning in Jakarta, participated in the conversation through teleconference.

"I am surprised to see the high potentials possessed by Banyuwangi. There are 77 tourist attractions throughout the year, as well as interesting tourist destinations. I appreciate all parties who have contributed to the development in this area. We are exploring businesses in Banyuwangi," he remarked.

He further explained that his arrival to Banyuwangi was a follow-up measure to the conversation with the Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan a while ago.

"Indeed, I came here after meeting Pandjaitan to develop a new tourism area, in addition to Bali and Jakarta. The visit today is to conduct a study of Banyuwangi and the airport," Kamarudin revealed.

Head of Banyuwangi Sub-district, Abdullah Azwar Anas, expressed his appreciation towards Air Asia`s plan to expand its business in Banyuwangi.

"Every citizen in Banyuwangi is committed to develop tourism here, and Banyuwangi will also build a state-owned railway factory, a national sugar mill, and an international marina development," he explained.

A representative of Angkasa Pura II Banyuwangi, Anton Martalius, added that the airport progress in Banyuwangi was relatively fast. In 2017, the number of passengers reached 188,949 people, or jumped 67 percent, compared to 113,153 passengers in 2016. In the period from January to March 2018, the number of passengers jumped 143 percent compared to the period of January-March 2017.

"For aircraft movement, there was an increase of 103 percent," Martalius noted.

The infrastructure of Banyuwangi Airport will also continue to be developed. Moreover, Banyuwangi will become the buffer airport for the IMF-World Bank meeting in Bali this October. The runway in the process is extended to 2.6 thousand meters with a width of PCN 56. The apron is 18 thousand square meters.

"For Air Asia, Airbus A-320 can land here. Therefore, I believe we are ready," he noted.

Reported by Masuki M Astro

Reporter: antara
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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