Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Friday, April 10, 2009

Glory on the mountain

The Jakarta Post | Fri, 04/10/2009 3:30 PM

A group of Catholics in Gandul Mountain, Wonogiri, West Java, participate in a live illustration of a biblical event when Jesus was about to be crucified by the Romans. The event was part of an Easter celebration to commemorate the crucifixion. (Antara/Akbar Nugroho)

Related Article:

SBY's 'integrity' behind Democratic Party's win: Juwono

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 04/10/2009 8:37 AM

Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono, who is not affiliated to any political party, attributes the Democratic Party's success in the legislative elections to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's "character and integrity."

"The success of the Democratic Party in gaining more than 20 percent of the votes in the legislative elections is a measure of the voters' trust in character and integrity of SBY's personality," Juwono said Friday.

Quick counts by a number of research institutes, including the Indonesian Survey Institute, the Indonesian Survey Circles, LP3ES and the National Survey Institute show that Yudhoyono's Democratic Party gained about 20 percent of the total votes, almost three times of total votes it got in 2004.

Megawati Soekarnoputri's Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) came second with about 15 percent of the votes and Jusuf Kalla's Golkar Party followed closely at the third place with about 14 percent.

Yudhoyono welcomed the quick counts, saying that survey institutes would not risk their integrity by issuing quick counts.

He said that he would start talking to other political parties to build possible coalitions at the House of Representatives for the July 8 presidential elections.

Related Article:

Democratic Party leads KPU's official count

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tribal vote

The Jakarta Post | Thu, 04/09/2009 6:05 PM

Tribal vote: Papua tribal man casts his ballot into a traditional bag made of woven tree bark called "Noken" in Jayawijaya, Papua province, Thursday, April 9, 2009. Indonesians flooded polling stations across the sprawling island nation Thursday, celebrating a decade of democracy in a parliamentary election that will gauge the reform-minded president's chances of re-election. AP/ANTARA, Prasetyo Utomo

Related Articles:

Christians in Papua celebrate Good Friday after attack

Successful election marks a decade of democracy

Peaceful Election in Aceh

Yogyakarta to organize another voting for Papuans after attack

Election Results:

Antara, Sat 10 April 2009

Some polling stations officers are carrying ballot boxes after counting of general election in Somba Opu Village, Gowa district, South Sulawesi province, Friday (Apr 10). Some voting officer was late to report election result due to transportation limitedness in cloistered region. (ANTARA photo/Yusran Uccang)

Early quick counts have SBY's Democratic Party in the lead

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 04/09/2009 5:42 PM

Early quick count results were trickling in Thursday, with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party coming in the lead.

The Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI), the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) and the National Survey Institute (LSN) all had Democratic Party leading the list with around 20 percent of votes.

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) headed by former President Megawati Sukarnoputri came second with around 15 percent; and the Golkar Party trailing third with nearly 13 percent.

The religious-based Islamic Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) came fourth with around 8 percent.

However, the three survey institutions differ in their order of the political parties after the biggest four.

The other political parties that managed to get into the biggest 10 include the National Awakening Party, the National Mandate Party, the United Development Party, the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), and the People's Concience Party (Hanura).

Related Articles:

Successful election marks a decade of democracy

Indonesians vote for new parliament

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Delivering logistics

The Jakarta Post | Wed, 04/08/2009 4:32 PM

Workers in tourist island, Lombok, load boxes that will be used as vote containers in the upcoming general elections on Thursday in Gili Meno Village. (Antara/Budi Afandi)

Related Article:

Four Floating Voting Stations at Seribu islands

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Saving Batavia: A Vision of Jakarta's Past and Future

See Also:

If you leave aside South Jakarta’s business corridor, the high-priced restaurants and the city’s many shopping malls, what are you going to do in a metropolis desperately short of public spaces?

Where in Jakarta can you escape the pollution, traffic and pressure for a stroll through shaded streets, a coffee at a sidewalk cafe, a visit to an art gallery and a chance to enjoy the architectural treasures of a forgotten time?

Nowhere, is the obvious answer.

At least not yet. But if the decaying treasures of old Batavia, the neighborhood now known as Kota Tua, or Old Town, could be salvaged from more than a half-century of neglect, a gem would be revealed that could become an oasis of calm for city residents and a money-spinning tourist attraction for visitors to Jakarta, most of whom just hurry through their hours here, anxious to change planes for Bali.

For now, of course, apart from the partially restored splendor of Taman Fatahillah and the old Dutch city hall,

Kota Tua is largely a mess. Historic structures are falling down, trees grow through collapsed roofs. There are seedy nightspots, traffic chaos and little in the way of economic vitality.

We see it differently. Kota Tua is a treasure, one of the largest stands of original colonial-era architecture in Asia. Refurbished, rezoned and allowed to flourish in a public-private partnership — the outlines of which are in a master plan being considered by the Jakarta governor’s office — Kota Tua could, and we think should, take its place alongside the other architectural marvels of Asia.

That the 17th century Dutch had the power and the temerity to think they could recreate their vision of Europe in a tropical outpost rife with disease may be looked upon now as imperial madness.

However, the fact that much of this early history remains standing, having evaded destruction through war or a developer’s bulldozer, is a reality that the current generation, separated from the bitterness of the colonial legacy, can now reclaim.

As this special report shows, Kota Tua is integral to Jakarta’s history, and can be a big part of Jakarta’s future.

In its rush over five decades to expand and modernize, Jakarta has largely forgotten its past. Kota Tua is in trouble. The exquisite historic buildings around Taman Fatahillah are crumbling. The grand old boulevard along the Kali Besar canal reeks of stagnant water. The small shop-houses, some providing refuge for squatters, might as well be occupied by ghosts, given how eerie they look after sundown. Similar treasures in Chinatown and the old Arab district bear the scars of neglect. The whole place could fade to little more than a memory.

But given aggressive leadership and a vision of creative change, a city desperate for beauty and calm amid the urban sprawl could benefit immensely from a revitalized and reborn Kota Tua.

We offer this selection of articles as a starting point for debate, a celebration of the past and a reminder of the treasure in our midst. Let’s not let it fade to dust.

Chinese tourist arrivals in Bali up 11.35 pct

Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA News) - A total of 34,539 Chinese tourists visited Bali in the first two months of 2009, accounting for 11.35 percent of the total foreign tourist arrivals to the resort island over the period.

"The number of Chinese tourists increased 5,740 or 19.93 percent compared to the same period last year when 28,799 Chinese tourists visited Bali," Head of the Bali Provincial Office of the Central Board of Statistics (BPS) Ida Komang Wisnu said on Sunday.

He said China ranked third in terms of foreign tourists visiting Bali after Japan and Australia.

In total, 131,319 Chinese tourists visited Bali last year, up 55.82 percent from a year earlier.

More than 1,992,290 foreign tourists visited Bali last year, an increase of 19.40 percent from the year before.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Obama to visit Indonesia this year, says SBY

The Jakarta Post, JAKARTA | Sat, 04/04/2009 11:41 AM

Back to the battle: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speaks at a news conference Thursday night on board a Garuda Indonesia flight returning from the G20 Summit in London, as First Lady Ani Yudhoyono (right) looks on. The President arrived back in Indonesia on Friday and immediately headed to Surabaya, East Java, to campaign for his Democratic Party a week ahead of the legislative elections. Courtesy of Presidential Office/Abror Rizki

US President Barack Obama plans to visit Indonesia this year, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced.

“When I told Obama that the people of Indonesia were awaiting his visit, he said he planned to do so this year,” SBY was quoted by Antara news agency as saying during a flight from London to Surabaya, East Java, on Thursday night.

He said Obama unveiled the plan for an Indonesian visit while the two leaders were seated next to each other at a working breakfast during the G20 summit in London on Thursday morning (local time).

SBY could not say when Obama would arrive in Jakarta.

However, Yudhoyono was quoted by his presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal as saying in February that the President was hoping Obama could make the visit before the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Singapore scheduled for November this year.

If Obama’s plan is realized, the US president would meet his former elementary school friends in Jakarta, where he lived for four years during his childhood.

At one point during the G20 summit, Obama had surprisingly tapped SBY on the shoulder and asked, “Feeling tired?”

“Then I said, ‘No, I am OK.’ He still remembers a lot of Indonesian words, such as apa kabar for how are you, and capek for feeling tired.”

When speaking at the working breakfast about Indonesia’s views toward the global financial downturn, the President spoke in Indonesian.

In his introduction, SBY said he hoped Obama could understand him.

“Obama then laughed and said he had to learn to speak Indonesian again.”

The US president was a good listener and was able to approach anyone, SBY said.

“I saw that Obama continued to listen attentively to everybody, and hopefully it will be a new chapter for the United States to see our common views.”

Last month, Obama called the President to express Washington’s willingness to involve Jakarta in tackling global issues, including the environment and the financial crisis.

The US president also told Yu-dhoyono in the 10-minute phone conversation that he wanted to build “a comprehensive partnership” between the two countries, according to Dino.

The phone conversation followed the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Jakarta in February.

During Clinton’s visit, SBY invited Obama to visit Indonesia.

Obama also thanked Indonesia for the “warm” and “friendly” welcome it had extended to Clinton during the two-day trip.

“President Obama said he wanted to work with Indonesia in coping with global issues, such as climate change,” Dino told reporters.

Well seated: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, sitting beside his American counterpart Barack Obama, delivers a speech during the G20 Summit in London on Thursday. In his speech, Yudhoyono expressed a desire for the summit to produce a concrete strategy for tackling the global financial crisis. Courtesy of Presidential office/Dino Pati Djalal

Great puppet collection, shame about the museum

Agus Maryono, The Jakarta Post, Banyumas | Fri, 04/03/2009 2:19 PM

If you collect, research or are simply interested in Indonesia's puppets - an integral part of the nation's traditional culture - you would do well to visit the Banyumas Puppet Museum in the center of the Central Java city of Banyumas.

The museum's collection features an extensive collection of puppets from every corner of the country, with the oldest, made by Sultan Hadiwijaya during the time of the Mataram Kingdom, dating back to 1556. Among the more recent puppets are suket puppets, the work of a Purbalingga artist made popular by Slamet Gundono.

With meticulous detail, every puppet's history has been recorded, including the details of the puppet maker, the reasons different puppets were popular at different stages of history and the intended purpose behind each puppet's creation.

"All the historical puppets are here," Wati, 35, the museum caretaker, told The Jakarta Post. "Visitors who want to look at them are welcome, but they are not allowed to take them outside the museum."

The museum, Wati said, housed 15 types of puppets from various cultures and historical periods. In addition to the two mentioned above, there are examples of Banyumasa gagrag leather puppets, Yogyakarta gagrag leather puppets, purwo wooden puppets from West Java, menak puppets (historical Islamic stories), kancil puppets, Cirebonan puppets, Balinese puppets, krucil puppets (flat puppets made from thin wood), suluh puppets, dupara puppets, alam ma'rifat puppets and suket puppets.

Also on display at the museum are photographs of Banyumas city taken in 1937 at the museum's former location, about 25 kilometers north of the present museum in Purwokerto. Other cultural artifacts include portraits of past leaders of Banyumas regency heads and various antiques and stones.

But despite the wealth of cultural heritage on display, the museum is poorly maintained and poorly attended, according to Wati, who has been the museum's caretaker and visitor guide for 16 years.

She said that, on average during the past five years, the museum received about 1,000 visitors a year. "It would be fair to say that 90 percent of visitors are children from elementary and junior high schools on school trips organized by their teachers," Wati said.

"The statistics on visitor numbers during the past year show that numbers are decreasing," she said. According to the museum's records, in 2005 there were 1,310 visitors. In 2006 this fell to 1,039 visitors and in 2007 to 1,208. In 2008, the museum received only 788 visitors.

"I don't know why there are so few visitors and why the numbers tend to be going down," Wati said. "Maybe too few people like going to museums, or this place is not attractive - I just don't know which."

It is true that, despite its rich and fascinating collection, the museum lacks the space to ensure an enjoyable visit. The puppets are arranged in rows in narrow and musty places, each getting only a small space. The displays seem not to have been well maintained. Indeed, the arrangement of the historical and valuable puppet collection makes the building appear more warehouse than museum.

Yusmanto, the head of the technical unit at the Banyumas regency's Cultural Center, which runs the museum, admitted that the Sendang Mas Museum was not getting enough maintenance.

"We recognize this," Yusmanto told The Jakarta Post at a recent meeting in his office. "During the dozens of years since this museum was established, we've just let things slide. There's been no maintenance because the budget is so limited. I don't know why."

Yusmanto said that the museum had been established and officially opened by the National Indonesian Puppet Secretariat (SENAWANGI) in 1983. Since then, he said, there had been almost no changes, apart from additions to the puppet collection.

"Apart from the various puppets that are in this museum, we also have a collection of various antiques and Java Kuno gamelan. But arranging the displays for maximum effect and to make the place attractive to visitors - these things haven't been done," Yusmanto said. "Maybe this year we'll make reorganization a priority."

He said that in this 2009 budget year, a proposal had been made to the Banyumas regional government to upgrade the area and museum building to make it more attractive, at a cost of around Rp 60 million (US$5,000).

Yusmanto added that in the near future the museum would be actively working with three missions: "in culture, education and tourism".

"The strength of this museum is the complete collection of puppets from various regions and cultures that has been added to over time. But the weakness is that the artifacts are displayed in a room that is still musty," Yusmanto said. "This year we will try to deal with the situation again."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

NTT appeals for support for new wonder

Yemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Kupang | Thu, 04/02/2009 3:16 PM

The East Nusa Tenggara provincial administration has called on the international community to support its bid to include the Komodo National Park in West Manggarai as one of the new seven wonders of the world.

East Nusa Tenggara Governor Frans Leburaya raised the matter in Kupang on Wednesday in response to the polling results released by the website, which showed Komodo National Park had dropped from 12th to 15th in the third week of March.

"The drop to 15th place shows the struggle is still on to prove that Komodo National Park, which is rich in natural resources and home to the rare Komodo dragon, should be recognized as one of the new seven wonders of the world," said Leburaya.

Those wishing to support the national park can do so via the website.

"We need to coordinate with groups that can potentially offer support for our cause, such as schools, universities, businesses and stakeholders in tourism, be it through direct campaigns or pamphlets promoting the national park," said Leburaya.

The poll results, he said, would determine whether or not the judges will select Komodo National Park as one of the new wonders of the world.

"Last year, Borobudur Temple failed to be included as a world wonder due to the lack of support from both Indonesian and international communities," said Leburaya.

Most of East Nusa Tenggara, he said, contained huge amounts of tourist potential.

"The Komodo National Park and Kelimutu Lake, in terms of natural resources and rich environments, are second to none. The province also has vast marine tourism potential given the fact its sea area is four times that of its land area," he said.

Another unique cultural experience available in the area is the whale-hunting tradition of the Lamalera community in Flores.

Fifteen countries to join Tour of Singkarak cycling race

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 04/02/2009 4:06 PM

Fifteen countries have so far expressed commitment to participate in the Tour of Singkarak 2009 cycling race to be held in West Sumatra April 29 to May 3, 2009.

Culture and tourism ministry's director general Sapta Nirwandar said in Jakarta on Thursday that the countries include New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Iran, Australia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, and Qatar.

"Around 85 percent of the construction works of new routes for the cycling race has been completed," he said as quoted by Antara state news agency.

Participants of the Tour of Singkarak will cover a total distance of 459 km and compete for a total prize of US$60,000.

The race route is to consist of four segments: Padang-Bukittinggi segment (92.3 km), Bukittinggi-Sawahlunto segment (85.1 km), Sawahlunto-Danau Singkarak segment (90.2 km), and Lake Singkarak- lake Kembar - Lake Singkarak segment (188 km).

The cycling race, which is aimed at promoting tourism in West Sumatra Province, will be accompanied by music concerts, a food festival, and a fun bike event.

West Sumatra Province was visited by a total of 1.4 million tourists, including about 100,000 foreigners, last year, he said.

The province has set a target of receiving at least 1.5 million tourists in 2009.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hard Rock to roll out more Asian hotels


HONG KONG (AFP) — The head of Hard Rock International said Tuesday the leisure firm was looking to expand its rock-and-roll themed hotel franchise across Asia despite the financial crisis.

Hamish Dodds, president and chief executive officer of the US-based group, said it was working on deals to open Hard Rock Hotels in Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Jakarta and Hong Kong over the next few years.

The group currently manages two hotels in Asia -- one in Pattaya, Thailand, and the other in Bali, Indonesia -- and it is launching three new hotels in Macau, Malaysia and Singapore later this year.

"We have a number of negotiations ongoing in Asia. It's a good time to be looking around," he told AFP in Hong Kong.

"We certainly have better bargaining power now because of the availability of distressed assets and better leases (amid the crisis)," he said.

Dodds said the company has stepped up its search for potential sites and franchise partners in Asia.

In June, the company will open a 300-room Hard Rock Hotel in the southern Chinese gaming hub of Macau.

The new hotel is part of the 2.1-billion-US-dollar entertainment resort complex run by Lawrence Ho, head of Melco Crown Entertainment and son of Macau gaming tycoon Stanley Ho.

Dodds said Hard Rock's parent company, Seminole Tribe of Florida, was one of the most successful gaming businesses in the world and its entry into the Macau market was logical.

"If we are in the gaming business, it makes sense to be in the biggest gaming market in the world, which is Macau," he said.

Hard Rock International owns 124 Hard Rock Cafes and nine Hard Rock Hotels around the world.

KLM upbeat on Indonesian market, brings in new aircraft

Novan Iman Santosa, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 04/01/2009 2:56 PM

KLM, the Royal Dutch Airline is upbeat about the Indonesian passenger market, describing it as a strong one, despite the current global economic downturn.

"Indonesia is withstanding the global crisis quite well while Singapore, Australia and New Zealand are hit much harder," Air France KLM general manager for the region (comprising Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand), Paul Rombeek, told reporters Monday.

"However, we do see worldwide that all economies are in trouble."

Rombeek, appointed in February, quoted IATA suggesting airlines worldwide might suffer losses of up to US$4.6 billion this year.

Meanwhile, Air France KLM country manager Axel Theo Colen said the airline was experiencing a fall of 10 to 20 percent in bookings.

Colen emphasized however that Indonesia reached its budgeted target for the year ending March 31.

"This means that there was growth in Indonesia compared to the 2007/2009 fiscal year," he said.

"Indonesia has big potential despite negative trends in bookings."

Colen, however, declined to reveal any load factor figures from Jakarta saying this was confidential.

KLM serves daily the Jakarta-Amsterdam route via Kuala Lumpur.

Both Rombeek and Colen were speaking before a ceremony to welcome the new Boeing 777 at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cengkareng, Banten.

Previously the route was served by the 428-seat Boeing 747-400 aircraft which flew the route four times a week. The 280-seat 747-400 Combi (combined with freight) flew the other three times a week.

KLM currently has 15 Boeing 777-200s in its fleet, with two more expected later this year.

The airline also has two Boeing 777-300s with two more expected to arrive in May and August.

The 200 series has 327 seats while the 300 series has 425 seats. Both series have 35 business class seats while the rest are economy seats.

The 300 series will fly every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday with the 200 series flying on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

The use of the Boeing 777 provides an additional 150 seats per week or an increase of 6 percent.

"Not only is the new airplane a reward for the route for good performance but it also offers a better product to passengers," Colen said.

With better technological advances Colen said the Boeing 777 burned less fuel than the 747.

A round trip with a 747 needs 300 tons of fuel while the 777 only needs some 230 tons," he said.

AirAsia to add new routes to Singapore network

Peanuts Online, Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Banking on the success of its 4 new routes between Indonesia and Singapore, AirAsia is now looking at adding more routes to the island-city in 2009, said its Group CEO Tony Fernandes.

Inaugural flights between Singapore and Indonesian cities of Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta and Bali took off on 24-Mar-09, recording forward bookings of 80,000 so far. AirAsia is the only airline flying the Singapore-Bandung route and is the first low-fare airline to service the Singapore-Yogyakarta sector.

AirAsia’s first route between Indonesia and Singapore was from Pekanbaru, which commenced in August last year.

Apart from Indonesia, AirAsia currently flies between Singapore and the Malaysian cities of Kuala Lumpur (7 daily flights), Kuching (1) and Kota Kinabalu (1), as well as Bangkok (4) and Phuket (1) in Thailand. These bring AirAsia’s total number of weekly flights to and from Singapore to 140.

Fernandes said, “Singapore is very special to AirAsia and we consider it a virtual hub. AirAsia’s latest Indonesia-Singapore link forms the final piece of our network jigsaw puzzle as it resembles the importance of the AirAsia network, making it the most powerful in Asia. Currently, we have a combined total of 10 routes connecting Singapore and we are looking at introducing at least 3 more new routes this year. Based on our projections, we will carry a total of 2 million guests to and from Singapore in 2009.”

AirAsia is considering a number of cities to be linked to Singapore and among the destinations in the pipeline are Penang and Langkawi in Malaysia, as well as Medan and Surabaya in Indonesia. AirAsia will also increase the frequencies of some of the existing routes to Singapore this year.

Fernandes said, “Given the current economic climate, this positive link between these new services is indeed such an encouraging response. Greater connection to both countries would not only boost economic growth by providing better access to markets but also enhance links within travel, trade and tourism. It is also a perfect match as both hubs, Singapore and Indonesia are able to feed traffic to the cities, connect to other points serviced by AirAsia’s extensive routes and international destinations serviced by AirAsia’s long-haul affiliate, AirAsia X via the Kuala Lumpur hub. This initiative will also help the pace of integration between Indonesia and Singapore in particular, and bridge ASEAN closer by enabling intra-Asean travel with AirAsia’s connectivity and route network via our strategic hubs in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.”

Meanwhile, CEO of Indonesia AirAsia, Mr. Dharmadi commented: “These new routes signify our effort in realizing the open skies policy. Despite the economic uncertainties, Indonesia still recorded the largest number of tourist arrivals to Singapore among Asean countries. This good indication of strong growth will definitely instill integration between Indonesia and Singapore, and to enable intra-Asean travel with AirAsia’s connectivity and route network via our strategic hubs in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.”