More low-cost carriers needed to cut domestic travel costs: Minister

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya says Indonesia needs to develop more low-cost carriers to help decrease domestic travel costs, while also increasing foreign tourist numbers to the country. 

It is not an uncommon issue discussed among travelers that domestic travel can sometimes cost more than international travel, a reason behind the popularity of neighboring destinations such as Thailand, China and Japan. 

Among the reasons, Arief said, was airfare. “We don’t have too many LCCs [low-cost carriers],” he said during a discussion themed “We the Youth” in Jakarta recently as quoted by

The minister further said additional low-cost carriers were needed to meet the government’s target of 20 million foreign tourists by 2019. Low-cost carriers are able to provide more affordable tickets and minimalist flying services. 

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Arief noted that such services were readily available in neighboring destinations, such as in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and Thailand. Some countries even operate low-cost terminals to accommodate the flights, he added. 

Bangkok has two airports, he said, Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Muang International Airport. “Don Muang Airport is a LCT [low-cost terminal],” Arief said, adding that Suvarnabhumi was mainly for premium airlines. 

Meanwhile, Arief noted that flights to eastern Indonesia faced a different challenge. “The long distances with a long travel time make the prices higher,” he said. 

The solution would be opening more direct flights, since transits are still common, Arief added. (liz/kes)

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