Pangkalpinang, Bangka Belitung (ANTARA) - National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia added extra flights for the Pangkalpinang-Jakarta route ahead of this year's Christmas and New Year's Eve holiday season, Manager of Garuda Indonesia's Pangkalpinang Branch Office Solpa Puji Harsagi said.

The extra flights would be available on Dec 20-26, 2019 and Dec 29, 2019 as well as on January 1-5, 2020, he said here on Sunday.

The extra flights were offered to anticipate a possible increase of passengers, and make those wanting to travel during the Christmas and New Year's Eve holiday season, and the first week of January 2020, easier to choose their favourite dates of departure, he said.

According to Harsagi, the flight ticket prices for economy class would not rise but the people were suggested to book theirs in advance. At peak season, the flight tickets could have been sold out.

The passengers were also adviced to use such facilities as city check-in and web check-in to enable them to get rid of any unexpected eventuality when arriving late due to traffic congestion, he said.

Regarding flight tickets, Muhammad Aras, a member of the House of Representatives' (DPR's) Commission V overseeing transport, telecommunications, public works, and public housing affairs, has appealed to the Garuda management not to raise the ticket prices.

Instead, this national flag carrier is suggested to issue a cross-subsidy policy to offer reasonable flight tickets for eastern Indonesian cities.

"We are optimistic that Garuda would offer cross-subsidy service for passengers traveling to eastern Indonesia. If this service is not available, our community members in eastern Indonesia will have to bear more burden," Muhammad Aras stated.

Aras highlighted the dire need for affordable flight tickets in the run-up to the Christmas and New Year holiday season.

This legislator, representing the United Development Party (PPP) Faction, noted that most Indonesians residing in various cities in eastern Indonesia will usher in this year's Christmas and 2020 New Year's Eve.

To cater to the needs of community members to travel during the Christmas and New Year holiday season, Garuda Indonesia has prepared 2,495 additional seats and 967,771 regular seats.

A rise of two to three percent was expected in the total number of passengers traveling during this year-end's holiday season than that of last year, he stated, adding that Garuda Indonesia did not make preparations for additional flights this year.

In its place, this national airline will operate wide-bodied aircraft, such as Boeing 777 and Airbus 737. This decision was taken on the basis of operational efficiency.

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Translator: Irwan Arfa, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
Copyright © ANTARA 2019