Jakarta — Local airline Sriwijaya Air will begin operating direct flights between Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and Blimbingsari Airport in Banyuwangi, East Java on Friday (16/06). The route will be operated by Sriwijaya’s subsidiary Nam Air, whose pilots will fly 150-seat Boeing 737-500. Toto Nursatyo, Sriwijaya’s commercia director, said tickets for the new flight are currently available through online booking agencies, such as Traveloka.com and Ticket.com. “The Ministry of Transportation issued a permit to Sriwijaya for the new route last week. Already tickets are beginning to sell,” Toto said on Wednesday (14/06). The airline will operate daily flights between Jakarta and Banyuwangi, with initial departures from Soekarno-Hatta Airport scheduled for 7:05 a.m., while return flights from Blimbingsari Airport will depart from 9:05 a.m. According to Toto, Nam may add more daily flights in the future if the route proves popular among Jakarta and Banyuwangi residents. “Initially, we will serve only one return flight daily, though in the future we may add more,” he said. “We are optimistic that Banyuwangi will become a popular destination for Jakartans.” The airline decided to open the new route due to promising marketing analysis data that showed increased business activity and growing education and tourism industries in East Java city, Toto said. Banyuwangi district head Abdullah Azwar Anas expressed his gratitude for the new route and is hopeful the region will flourish due to its new-found accessibility from the country’s capitol. “This is good news for the people of Banyuwangi. Travelers can now fly here directly from Jakarta without having to transit in Surabaya. “The initial timetables look good, and the route has opened just in time for the Lebaran exodus,” Anas said. Tourism Ministry Arief Yahya said the new route will bolster government efforts to transform the country’s tourism industry, which includes providing easier access to remote destinations across the archipelago. “We are currently promoting air connectivity. [..] Clearly, airlines should open more routes there, as Banyuwangi’s tourism potential have developed rapidly,” the minister said.