Jakarta — National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia is set to launch a daily return flight between Jakarta and Sorong beginning March 10, as it aims to increase access to the West Papua province and its famed tourist destination of Raja Ampat. Nina Sulistyowati, Garuda Indonesia’s marketing and IT director, said the services would make it easier for tourists, both domestic and foreign, to be able to directly reach Raja Ampat, a maritime tourist area that has caught attention for its picturesque landscapes and underwater scenery. Sorong is the closest Indonesian city in West Papua to reach Raja Ampat Islands. From Sorong, travelers need to continue on by sea on a two-hour speed boat ride that takes them to Waisei, the capital of Waigeo Island, which is one of the largest islands in Raja Ampat regency. Nina further added that the daily flight was also hoped to contribute to the economic potential of the West Papuan region. In addition to Raja Ampat tourism, Nina said, the city of Sorong was geographically strategic as it was the largest city in West Papua, as well as being an industrial city and trade city. “With the opening of the Jakarta-Sorong return route, in addition to increasingly boosting and developing tourism potential in the West Papuan region, of course, it would also provide more convenience for business actors who travel to and from the capital city of Jakarta,” Nina said in a statement on Friday (02/03). The Jakarta-Sorong route uses a Boeing 737-800 Next Generation that has the capacity of 162 passengers with 12 business class seats and 150 economy class seats. Flight GA 682 from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten is scheduled to depart at 12:20 a.m. local time and arrives at Sorong’s Domine Eduard Osok Airport at 6:35 a.m. Sorong is two hours ahead of Jakarta. Meanwhile, Flight GA 683 leaving Sorong is scheduled to depart at 7:25 a.m. and arrive in Jakarta at 8:55 a.m. Prior to the Jakarta route, Garuda Indonesia had already served flights to Sorong via several other cities in Indonesia, namely Makassar in South Sulawesi, Manado in North Sulawesi and Ambon in Maluku. The daily return route flies with a Bombardier CRJ-1000 Next Generation with all-economy class seating.