"We are ready to facilitate a meeting between NTB and an Australian airline," Australian Deputy Ambassador to Indonesia Allaster Cox said, after meeting NTB Governor Zulkieflimansyah in Mataram on Friday.
He noted that there is also an opportunity for NTB to open flight routes with several airlines from Australia to Lombok. Like the airline from Australia, Jetstar has opened flights from Australia to several places in Indonesia.
"Hopefully, there will be an opportunity to talk to an airline, such as Jetstar, to be able to fly from Australia to Lombok," he said.
Cox said that Australia and the NTB Provincial Government`s relationship had been ongoing for some time in various fields, such as education, infrastructure, and other social activities, including, the tourism sector.
This can be seen from the visits of tourists from Australia to Lombok.
"We are very active in partnering with NTB, just as we help NTB in improving human resources (HR), infrastructure, education, MSMEs, and tourism," he explained.
"Hopefully, there is an opportunity for Australian investors to review and collaborate, specifically in the field of processing and other fields for the future," he added.
Cox said he hoped the collaboration with the NTB Provincial Government can continue, and even be improved, especially since the earthquake struck NTB.
"We have a strong commitment to continue cooperation, especially after this earthquake. We are mourning this incident. But now it`s time for reconstruction and rehabilitation, and we have prioritized assistance to earthquake victims," said Cox.
Meanwhile, NTB Governor Zulkieflimansyah hopes that the Australian embassy can help the NTB Provincial Government to open direct flights to Lombok.
"We really want to have direct flights from Australia to grow our tourism," said Doctor Zul, nicknamed the Governor of NTB.
Previously, on September 24, 2013, an Australian airline, Jetstar Airways, opened direct flights from Perth to Lombok.
The low-cost airline scheduled four flights, on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, flying Airbus A320 aircraft.
However, a year later, on October 16, 2014, Jetstar ended flight to Lombok due to financial difficulties.
Reporting by Nur Imansyah
Editing by Eliswan