Jakarta (ANTARA) - Uzbekistan Airways landed its first flight at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, on late Wednesday, after a 11-hour journey from Tashkent.
The commercial aircraft had onboard 50 passengers, largely Uzbeks, who had transited at Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Uzbekistan Ambassador to Indonesia Ulugbek Rozukulov remarked that the Uzbekistan Airways flight was expected to boost bilateral relations, particularly people-to-people ties.
"The launch of a direct flight connecting Jakarta and Tashkent will facilitate more number of people from both nations to visit for business and for social and cultural events," Rozukulov stated at an event to welcome the Uzbekistan Airways' first flight at Terminal 3 of the Soekarno-Hatta airport.
Meanwhile, Uzbekistan Brand Ambassador to Indonesia Margianti pointed to Uzbekistan having imposed visa-free regulation for some nations, including Indonesia, based on the high level of interest among Indonesians for visiting the country.
"Earlier, travelers had to transit at Kuala Lumpur, Incheon Airport, or via Istanbul," Margianti stated.
Uzbekistan has gauged the potential to draw Indonesian tourists to travel for religious purposes, she noted, adding that Uzbekistan is home to the tombs of some highly esteemed imams, such as Imam Bukhari and Imam Tarmizi.
President Director of state-owned airport service firm PT Gapura, I Dewa Gede Mahayana has hailed the first flight of Uzbekistan Airways, affirming that it would offer a good momentum to drive foreign tourist arrivals as well as cargo flights.
Uzbekistan has turned into a transit airport for international airlines, he noted.
"Hence, it would boost our economy. On the whole, we are highly pleased since it will add to our experience in handling flights from Central Asia," he stated.
Presently, state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II has handled 25 international flights that are projected to increase in future, taking into account the low frequency of domestic flights.
"We are upbeat that Jakarta can emerge as an international hub and not only Singapore," he added.
PT Gapura has provided ground-handling and other services at the airport along with VIP and cargo flights.