• Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - 15:00

‘Welcome to Indonesia, jet-setters,’ says govt

The rich and famous can now depart on a jet plane to various Indonesian cities as the government eases a regulation on foreign registered private jets.
Traveling by private jet is now possible after the Transportation Ministry issued a Ministerial Regulation No. 109/2016 on noncommercial and chartered foreign jets, effective on Sept. 14, which allows foreign-owned private jets to fly from one domestic airport to another.
Previously, private jets could only travel to one international airport in Indonesia and were barred from making domestic flights.
The regulation supports strategic national interests, such as investment, tourism and other activities related to the national economy.
The jets, however, must obtain a special permit and flight approval from the Transportation Ministry’s Air Transportation Director General, as well as diplomatic clearance and security clearance from the Foreign Ministry and Indonesian Military (TNI).
Application request can be submitted online. The jets will be allowed to fly domestically for a maximum of 180 days but first must land at an international airport to undergo customs, immigration and quarantine procedures.
The regulation is good news for the tourism sector, which has become the current administration’s focus for boosting the domestic economy.
“In the past, wealthy people traveling by private jet from Thailand could only go to one destination, like Bunaken, North Sulawesi. They couldn’t also go to Raja Ampat in Papua. Wasn’t that senseless?” Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said on Tuesday.
Affluent individuals will play a significant role in the economy due to their capacity to spend money. The Tourism Ministry estimates that the spending amount of the jet-setters is equal to the spending of 30,000 regular tourists.
Arief went on to say that many of the wealthy tourists who travel by jet would also travel by yacht later, which is another way to boost the country’s tourism industry, as spending per yacht is estimated to reach up to US$1 million.
The Tourism Ministry hopes the regulation will pave the way for the government to reach its 20 million foreign tourists target by 2019.
The number of foreign visitors stood at 7.36 million from January to August, according to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS). The goal for the full year is set at 12 million.
Transportation Ministry’s senior adviser to public communications and international affairs Dewa Made Sastrawan said that the regulation was part of the government’s attempt to facilitate all stakeholders, including businesspeople.
Meanwhile, the importance of domestic flights for jet planes is also acknowledged by French jet manufacturer Dassault Falcon.
Dassault Falcon Asia Pacific president Jean-Michel Jacob said jet travellers were usually business leaders, such as chief executive officers of major corporations.
“A lot of them are business people looking to invest and establish businesses in the country,” he said.
Data from the company show that there were 52 business jets owned and operated in Indonesia in 2015, a 16 percent increase from the figure in 2014. Some of these jets are foreign owned.
The company estimates that its Indonesian market can be expanded to accommodate at least 100 companies as business people crave comfort during long flights.
The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) welcomes the regulation. Kadin vice chairperson of transportation Carmelita Hartoto said it would boost tourism as well as positively impact many business players.
“However, we also urge the government to ensure security and safety for such flights,” she said.