Padang Pariaman, West Sumatra (ANTARA) - International flights serving Padang-Kuala Lumpur route and vice versa are scheduled to resume at Minangkabau International Airport (BIM) starting October 1, 2022, after being halted for two years owing to COVID-19 pandemic.

"The flights will be served by Air Asia twice a week, every Tuesday and Saturday," Executive General Manager of state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II of the Minangkabau International Airport, said here on Sunday.

He is upbeat that the reopening of this route will boost the economic and tourism industry of West Sumatra Province.

"Before the COVID-19 pandemic the Padang-Kuala Lumpur route was the only international flight door to BIM," he said.

The aircraft seat occupancy rate had reached at least 80 percent on every flight with a flight frequency of twice a day before the pandemic.

He also conveyed his gratitude to the West Sumatra Provincial Government and all parties who had jointly participated in pushing the reopening of international flight routes.

Prior to the reopening of the flights, the Angkasa Pura II together with relevant stakeholders carried out simulations to prepare maximum service for airport service users.

"In the simulation, all elements collaborated to ensure that all aspects are ready and meet the standards and conditions set," he said.

Meanwhile, based on a search on a online ticket provider website on Sunday, the price of flight tickets from Padang to Kuala Lumpur starts from Rp800 thousand one way.

Head of the West Sumatra Transportation Office Heri Nofiardi had earlier said that the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment had allowed BIM to again serve international flights after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The permission to resume the flights was conveyed by the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, while the technical permit was given by the Ministry of Transportation.

Governor of West Sumatra Mahyeldi met with the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Panjaitan in early June 2022 to discuss about the reopening of the airport for international flights.

Based on data of the Indonesian Statistics (BPS) of West Sumatra, 61,131 foreign tourists visited West Sumatra in 2019, and 46,730 of them came from Malaysia .

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Translator: Ikhwan Wahyudi, Fardah
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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