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Region: Greater Middle East

Aceh Airport loses 52 thousand passengers because of expensive tickets

CNN Indonesia | Saturday, 24/05/2019 20:34 WIB

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia - The Sultan Iskandar Muda International Airport (SIM) in Aceh Besar lost nearly 52,000 aircraft passengers during the first quarter of 2019 because of the high ticket prices."There was a decline of around 18.61 percent or 51,985 aircraft passengers compared to the first quarter of 2018," said Head of the Aceh Wahyudin Central Statistics Agency (BPS), as reported by Antara on Friday (24/5). He detailed the total passengers using air transportation at SIM Airport reached 242,943 people in the period January-March 2019. The numbers shrank compared to the same period last year, which was 294,928 people. According to Wahyudin, the high fare of airline tickets, especially for domestic routes, has contributed greatly to the decline in the number of passengers, both those who came and those who left.

In fact, not a few people living in Aceh chose to fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, before continuing their journey to the country. As is known, SIM Airport is the only international airport between 11 airports located in Aceh Province. This airport has high activity, both airplane, passenger and goods traffic. "But the international passengers departing from Sultan Iskandar Muda in March 2019 totaled 14,826 people, down 9.55 percent compared to the previous month. While passengers arrived 14,893 people, an increase of 1.81 percent compared to February 2019," he said. In terms of flight frequency, aircraft activity also declined by around 16.28 percent to 2,305 times compared to the first quarter of last year which was 2,766 times.

"Various stakeholders, especially the airport, must find a strategy to restore the interest of passengers. Can hold a national scale event in Aceh to bring tourists," explained Wahyudin. The Association of Indonesian Travel Companies (ASITA) in Aceh said that the government should reduce the price of airline tickets to reach 45 percent in order to increase tourist interest in the province. "TBA (Upper Limit Rate) should be reduced by 45 percent. Not 12 percent to 16 percent," said ASITA Aceh Secretary Totok Julianto. Decreasing flight tickets only a dozen percent is considered unrealistic, because the increase in airplane tickets has occurred for almost six months since the end of last year.

Previously, the authority of the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin International Airport (SMB) II Palembang, South Sumatra, was also called a loss of IDR 3 billion per month due to the high price of airplane tickets. In terms of number of passengers, the decline even reached 20 percent. The executive general manager of PT Angkasa Pura II (Persero) Palembang Fachroji SMB II Airport said the average decline of 20 percent of passengers occurred since last year. At first, the average number of passengers reached 12 thousand to 15 thousand per day. However, the surge in ticket rates has reduced the number of passengers to only 6 thousand-8 thousand per day.

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