Starting 1 May 2014, Indonesia’s national airline, Garuda Indonesia officially launched its new regular short haul flights between Denpasar, Bali to Banyuwangi , - at the east-most tip of Java, - and from Banyuwangi to Surabaya, capital of the province of East Java. The launch of the new flight route (Denpasar-Banyuwangi-Surabaya) was conducted at the city of Banyuwangi’s Blimbingsari Airport. Today this city is served by both Garuda Indonesia following Wings Air that has served the Surabaya-Banyuwangi route since 2012.
The flight uses ATR72-600 aircraft with 70 seats capacity and is in full economy class. The flight departs daily from the Ngurah Rai international Airport Bali at 07.00 Central Indonesia Time and arrives at the Blimbingsari Airport Banyuwangi at 06.45 West Indonesia Time. The Banyuwangi-Surabaya flight leaves Banyuwangi at 07.15 West Indonesia Time, arriving at the Juanda International Airport in Surabaya at 07.55 Western Indonesia Time.
The return flight from Surabaya to Banyuwangi departs Juanda International Airport at 08.30 West Indonesia Time and arrives in Banyuwangi at 09.20 West Indonesia Time. This will continue into the Banyuwangi-Denpasar flight which leaves at 09.50 West Indonesia Time and arrives Bali at 11 .30 Central Indonesia Time. (There is a one-hour time difference between Java and Bali).
The Regent of Banyuwangi, Abdullah Azwar Anas said that the establishment of the new flight routes by Garuda Indonesia will make significant impact on Banyuwangi’s economy. The increasing number of flights to Banyuwangi also indicates that the regency is experiencing an economic growth which is supported by the agrobusiness, tourism, and industrial sectors. From the tourism perspective, Banyuwangi is known for a number of notable tourist destinations and attractions that include the amazing Mt. Ijen Crater, Pulau Merah Beach, the G-Land Beach surfing paradise, Teluk Hijau Bay, and also a number of agro-tourism plantations, and is close to the Baluran National Park.
“Access to Banyuwangi has now become easier. It is now easier for tourists to climb the Ijen Crater, and enjoy Pulau Merah Beach, Sukamade, Plengkung Beach, and other tourist destinations in the regency. This will eventually lead to a more sustainable growth of the local economy and benefit local communities” said Anas.
While, Garuda Indonesia’s Marketing and Sales Director, Erik Meijer, also expressed his confidence that the presence of Garuda Indonesia in Banyuwangi will make it easier for tourists and business people to reach the regency. So far, except for Wings Air flights, people wishing to reach Banyuwangi had to travel overland by car or by rail only. Banyuwangi’s port of Ketapang is also the harbor where ferries link the island of Java with Bali.
The Blimbingsari Airport has a total area of 240 square meters which this year will be completed with a new terminal. The Airport has a 1,800 meter runway and its thickness has been raised from 12 PCN (pavement classification number) to 17PCN, so that it can now be landed by Boeing 737-200 aircrafts. The growth of passengers at Blimbingsari Airport has shown promising developments. In 2011 the total number of passengers recorded 7,000 people. In 2012, the number of passengers significantly increased to 24,000, while next year it is expected to reach 44,000 passengers. (AAM)
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