Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno Advises Alternatives as Holiday Airfare Prices Surge

Airplane parking at Ngurah Rai Airport Bali (Pic: Tribun Bali)

As the Christmas and New Year holidays approach, airfare prices have surged, prompting Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, to offer advice for holidaymakers facing these challenges.

Sandi suggests two viable options for travelers: opting for land travel with private vehicles and capitalizing on the enticing promotions offered by Online Travel Agents (OTAs).

“There are numerous ongoing promotions. Individuals can select packages that align with their preferences,” Sandi encouraged at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy office in Jakarta on Monday (18/12/2023).

“Furthermore, there are several tourist destinations reachable by land, providing more affordable packages compared to train and plane tickets. These options can be accessed conveniently using private vehicles,” he elaborated.

Sandi emphasized ongoing coordination with local governments (pemda) to implement a block seat scheme to secure seats for official travel needs.

For reference, the block seat initiative involves local governments purchasing plane seats to ensure a certain quota, ensuring sufficient seat occupancy.

“The enduring solution involves increasing the frequency of flights, ensuring seat availability, collaborating with local governments for block seat schemes, and establishing long-term partnerships with aviation industry players and airlines,” Sandi explained.

Previously, Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN), Erick Thohir, disclosed that escalating airfare prices result from a significant reduction in Indonesia’s fleet of aircraft, a stark contrast to the pre-Covid-19 era.

“Our pre-pandemic fleet consisted of 750 planes. Currently, we only have 450 planes, leading to the increased cost of air tickets,” Erick revealed after inaugurating the National Sugar Summit (NSS) 2023 event in Jakarta on Wednesday (13/12/2023).

In tandem with Erick’s insights, the Ministry of Transportation (Kemenhub) acknowledged that soaring airfare prices are linked to high flight demand amid a shortage of available aircraft.

“As demand surges, we observe that the supply, or the number of planes owned by airlines, is currently only 50 percent compared to the pre-pandemic norm. This asymmetry in demand and supply is a key factor contributing to the current peak ticket prices,” explained Kemenhub’s Special Staff, Adita Irawati, during the Press Conference for the Preparation of Christmas 2023 and New Year 2024 on Monday (11/12/2023).