Jakarta, Nov 27 -- The House of Representatives has advised local airlines to lower their fares so that more people, especially those from the eastern parts of Indonesia, can visit their hometowns for the upcoming Christmas and New Year holiday season.
In order to enable airline companies cut prices, the government should ask state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina to cut the price of aviation fuel, said to be 25% higher than that in Singapore, Willem Wandik, a member of the House Commission V, said.
During a hearing with representatives of the Transportation Ministry and major airline operators in Jakarta on Monday, Willem said that airfares for flights from Jakarta to eastern parts of Indonesia such as Papua were extraordinarily high.
“For those of us who are living in eastern Indonesia, airfares are very expensive. It is cheaper to fly abroad. A return ticket from Jakarta to Papua costs tens of millions of rupiah. It is crazy, ” Willem said.
The chairman of Commission V, Lasarus, urged the government to talk with all stakeholders in the aviation industry in order to find a solution to the high airfares.
Lasarus asked Pertamina – the sole distributor of aviation fuel – to cut jet fuel prices. He also asked the government to consider allowing other companies to enter the jet fuel retail business if Pertamina could not provide a fair price for local airline operators.
The national aviation industry has blamed expensive airfares on high jet fuel prices.
Garuda Indonesia commercial director Pikri Ilham Kurniasyah said Garuda had to reduce the frequency of flights in order to cut operational costs in certain destinations, such as Jambi and Batam, as well as several routes in eastern Indonesia.
According to the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister, jet fuel contributes 30 percent to total operational costs, while the Indonesian National Air Carriers Association (INACA) said the cost component for jet fuel reached 40%.-By Jakarta post
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