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Indonesia AirAsia resumes direct flights from Jakarta to Kota Kinabalu

Indonesia AirAsia

Indonesia AirAsia reopens Jakarta-Kota Kinabalu route, boosting tourism and economic ties between Indonesia and Malaysia.

KOTA KINABALU – Indonesia AirAsia, officially reopened its flight from Jakarta to Kota Kinabalu. This marks the first international route operated by Indonesia AirAsia in 2024 and provides the exclusive direct flight to Kota Kinabalu, known as the ‘Land Below the Wind.’

Indonesia AirAsia is extending its flight connectivity for international routes. The opening of this route also signifies our support to the government in enhancing the relationship between Indonesia and Malaysia,” stated Capt. Wuri Septiawan, Director Flight Operations of Indonesia AirAsia, in Kota Kinabalu.

Furthermore, AirAsia is dedicated to enhancing the tourism and economic sectors of both countries. Kota Kinabalu, with its tremendous tourism potential, is an extraordinary destination, and we are committed to delivering an exceptional travel experience to our passengers, added Capt. Wuri.

Kota Kinabalu becomes the fifth destination for direct flights from Jakarta to Malaysia by Indonesia AirAsia, following the successful launches of Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta-Johor Bahru, Jakarta-Penang, and Jakarta-Kuching routes.

This flight is anticipated to simplify access for tourists from Indonesia and Malaysia to visit and enjoy the most popular tourist destinations in each country, and of course, at affordable prices,” mentioned Capt. Wuri.

The inaugural flight, with the code QZ 526, departed from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) and landed safely at Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) at 3:55 PM local time, where it was greeted with a water salute.

On this momentous occasion, Capt. Wuri Septiawan, Director Flight Operations of Indonesia AirAsia along with Indonesia AirAsia Allstars were welcomed by Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah & Chairman of Sabah Tourism Board; Josie Lai, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah; Jamilah Abd Halim, Deputy Director of ASEAN Division, Tourism Malaysia; Rafail Walangitan, Consul General Indonesia in Sabah. The pilot and cabin crew on duty were also presented with traditional Sabah necklaces to commemorate the occasion.

We are delighted to welcome Indonesia AirAsia’s inaugural flight to Kota Kinabalu. This initiative not only strengthens the relationship between the countries but also opens up new opportunities in the tourism, cultural, and economic sectors. With this new route, we hope to welcome more Indonesian tourists to enjoy and experience the unique attractions and charming natural beauty of Sabah,” said Datuk Christina Liew, Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment.

We appreciate Indonesia AirAsia for taking this significant step, which may pave the way for positive bilateral ties between Indonesia and Malaysia. This is an important move that will enhance connectivity between the two destinations and provide new opportunities for economic and tourism growth. We welcome this flight as tangible proof of a strong commitment to strengthening cooperation between our countries. Hopefully, this flight opens the door to more cooperation opportunities in the future,” said Rafail Walangitan, Consul General of Republic of Indonesia in Sabah.

Kota Kinabalu, often referred to as “KK,” is a culturally diverse city with stunning natural beauty, ranging from museums and beaches to the highest mountain in Malaysia. Standing at 4,095 meters above sea level, tourists can challenge themselves to reach the summit of Mount Kinabalu and witness the sunrise. Other popular tourist spots in Sabah include Tanjung Aru Beach, Sabah State Museum, Mari Mari Cultural Village, Atkinson Clock Tower, Gaya Street Sunday Market, KK Waterfront, and Tanjung Aru Perdana Park.

According to data from Statistics Indonesia, Malaysian tourists ranked first among the most foreign visitors to Indonesia in 2023, totaling 16,28% or 1,901,242 tourists. Similarly, records from the Sabah Immigration Department during January – November 2023 show that Indonesian tourists ranked third, with 78,693 foreign visitors to Sabah.

The direct route from Jakarta to Kota Kinabalu by Indonesia AirAsia is anticipated to contribute significantly to the government’s efforts to increase the number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia. Aligned with the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy’s new goal of welcoming 14,3 million international visitors in 2024, representing a substantial 68% increase from the previous target of 8,5 million in 2023.

Indonesia AirAsia table

Not only is the tourist industry expected to grow, but exports and imports are also expected to rise. Malaysia is the fourth country of origin for imports into Indonesia and the fifth destination for exports, according to the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia. It is thus anticipated that the launch of this flight would present chances to increase export and import activity via cargo services.

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George, in his capacity as an intern, diligently oversees the flow of news, assists in the publication of content, and delves into the strategies of social media distribution. He is currently pursuing his studies in Business Administration at the Athens University of Economics and Business.