Sunday, November 04, 2007

Airlines expect brisk business

Bali is exotic and enchanting. Los Angeles is glitzy and glamorous. Each has its own characteristics but they have something in common: the two are among the world's most popular tourist destinations. Bali and LA are also favorite places for Indonesians to spend holidays as seen from the increasing number of people traveling to these places.

Bali is famous for its wealth of arts and culture, spiritual life and beautiful natural views while LA has Hollywood, Disneyland and Universal Studios that reflect modernism, materialism, amusement and entertainment.

From Jakarta, you can fly to Bali almost at any time as numerous airlines serve the route to Denpasar, the capital of this Island of the Gods, daily during the day and night. There is also no problem going to LA even though there are fewer flights to take passengers to California.

One airline that serves the Jakarta-LA route is Eva Air. This Taiwanese airliner also flies to several other cities in America like San Francisco and New York, and even to Vancouver in Canada, but LA is the favorite destination.

It flies to LA every day. Five times a week, except Tuesday and Saturday, the route is Jakarta-Taipei-LA, while on Tuesday and Saturday, the airline flies to Singapore first before heading to Taipei and then to LA. The price, however, is the same. For passengers from Surabaya, the schedule is twice a week, on Tuesday and Saturday, while from Denpasar, there is a daily flight.

Eva Air is experiencing brisk business, with passengers increasing from year to year, especially during the holiday seasons. As a matter of fact, the airline industry is expecting an increase of between 20 and 30 percent in the number of passengers during this coming year-end holiday. Foreign and local airlines alike have the same expectations of vigorous business and predict business will be even better than last year. Makmun Hamsa, general manager of Eva Air Indonesia, is happy with the indication that this year-end holiday season will see a 10 percent increase over the previous year, as suggested by encouraging ticket sales before Idul Fitri and ticket reservations for the coming holiday. "People need recreation," he said.

People indeed need it not only at their destination but also during the journey, especially on long flights that require them to spend many hours on board. Therefore, all airliners try hard to provide comfort for passengers, serving them the best food and beverages on board and providing them with audio visual entertainment and games. The seats are designed in such a way as to allow passengers to sit or sleep in comfort with ample room to move.

Singapore Airlines has what it claims is the biggest bed in business class. It measures, with armrests lowered, 69 cm wide and 198 cm long, providing passengers with more freedom to work, relax or sleep. The Italian-Swiss designed bed offers passengers comfort, from the multiple seating positions, to the lie-flat sleeping mode at a comfortable angle of 8 degrees inflight. Every seat also has its own 110-volt AC laptop power supply for those who need it on board.

Eva Air spoils its passengers with good wines, which paved the way to it grabbing the 2007 Best Wines on the Wing Award during the international business-class airline competition with 25 participating airlines. Last month, Eva Air won the 2007 Richard Teller Crane Founder's Award from the international Flight Safety Foundation for "its corporate leadership in aviation safety programs and its superb safety record. "When it comes to safety, there is no compromising. It is the most important thing in all operations," Makmun said.

It goes without saying that any airliner, be it foreign or local, must pay full attention to the safety of passengers. In the past few years Indonesia has seen a number of air accidents, prompting all airline companies to make greater effort in improving safety measures. Being a low-cost carrier, Adam Air is aware that cheap tickets should not be used as an excuse to overlook safety issues. It is determined to create a better image by carefully checking all of its aircraft to guarantee passengers' wellbeing. "We will not allow any aircraft to fly if it is not in perfect condition," said Danke Deradjat, communications manager.

Besides safety, Adam Air also strives to serve its passengers better, trying to fly on time without any delays. "In Jakarta, a flight might be delayed because the aircrew comes late due to a traffic jam. To avoid such a thing, we have a boardinghouse near the airport for our aircrew," Danke said.

For the coming year-end holiday, it is predicted that the most favorite destination for Adam Air passengers will be Denpasar in Bali, followed by Surabaya, East Java, and Medan, North Sumatra. In anticipation of the sharp increase in passengers, airlines usually increase flight frequency, and Adam Air is no exception. "We will add an additional two flights to Denpasar, which is currently between five times and seven times a day," he said.

Even with the deployment of extra flights, tickets to Denpasar during the holiday season are expected to sell like hot cakes owing to Bali being the most popular tourist destination. Therefore if you want to spend the holiday in Bali, the sooner you make your travel plans, the better. A holiday is a time to relax, wind down and forget the frantic pace of work that often leads to stress. It is time to have fun and travel to your favorite destination. Be it Bali, LA or elsewhere. Bon voyage.

The Jakarta Post
November 04, 2007

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