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US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 12:51 am

It surprises me that there is no direct service between US and Indonesia. Considering Indonesia is the 4th most poulous country in world. Both GA and NW previously served this market, but pulled out in late 90's. Does anyone agree that their is a void here and think this would be a good opportunity for an airline?-also take into consideration demand for air cargo.
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 1:05 am

let's rephrase this : why no US carrier operates to Indonesia as well as Malaysia ? let's not count code-shares please.

 Smile/happy/getting dizzy
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 1:10 am

I think the answer is that there is not enough traffic at a good yield between the US and either Indonesia or Malaysia to justify direst service. There is also the security factor of flying to either of these countries for a US carrier.
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 1:15 am

Security for sure is now more then ever an issue. With the anti-American attitute in the rural regions that could be a reason. KUL is mostly out of reach for the aircraft american carriers fly as well. The to big boys UA and NW mostly got through NRT and must be more business going to other citys. I also would guess the total Indonesion population may be less then others here in the states (JUST A GUESS). I would venture to say if we see it soon it would be a LAX flight. This is just my 2 cents.
"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 1:19 am

There is indeed service between the US and Indonesia. Continental flies between Bali and Guam three times a week:

CO 900 GUM 1830-2150 DPS TuThSu 738
CO 901 DPS 2245-0610 GUM TuThSu 738

During the summer, this year between 4 June 2004 and 24 September 2004, Continental offers a fourth weekly flight on Fridays.
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 1:20 am

Would the proximity of somewhere like Singapore have anything to do with it?
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 1:26 am

A good bit of cargo already flows to and from Indonesia via several carriers that operate freighters to Jakarta from their Asian hubs, for example EVA Air and Korean Air.

Now passenger service is I think a little different. Most tourist tend to go to Denpasar or Surabaya rather than Jakarta. If I remember correctly Continental Micronesia serves Denpasar. Jakarta gets more business or transit to other cities. Now, I will admit the EVA and Korean Air flights I have been on were pretty full. Of course that is mainly Asian feed. I think I was the only U.S. Citizen on the flight.

As for security, I have had no problems to or from Indonesia. I have been there 4 times all after 2001. You do have to be careful, though a terrorist could come from anywhere. Note, I have not heard of many flight cancellations from Indonesia or Malaysia.

I consider Indonesia no more dangerous than the U.S. I will also say, that I am with locals and not with a tour group nor do I visit places were tourist congregate. So my opinion may be a little biased.

In the end, if Indonesia continues to become more politically stable there will be more opportunities for flights to start. I would expect 1 stop service via another hub, say NRT, SIN and so forth.

I have been to JKT and the variety of airlines is very interesting. Any way that is my 2 cents worth.

"What we've got here, is failure to communicate." from Cool Hand Luke
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 1:39 am

Plain and simple. There isn't sufficient demand for direct service, and the routes are already amply served by a variety of high quality connecting carriers (CX/SQ). Given anti-American sentiments and the current high profile war on terror, there is less business or leisure demand outbound from the USA. Given the harassement of foreign nationals of "suspect" countries by U.S. officials, there is less demand for travel to the USA from either Malaysia or Indonesia. Conversations with both CX and SQ sales staff have confirmed that they've taken a pretty significant hit on inbounds to the USA from these two countries, and that demand from the USA outbound is also off. Given this scenario, I can't see why US carriers would enter the market at the moment. As far as air cargo, there are plenty of alternatives with both existing commercial carriers and all-cargo carriers.
It's been swell, but the swelling has gone down.
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:16 am

so let me sum up:
1. insufficient demand
2. security

but how about political reasons ? I am not too sure about Indonesia, but Malaysia has had a long history of getting into diplomatic rows with Britain, Australia and the US. this could be a possible factor : read possible not definite , in case another jingoistic member slams me for criticising the state of Malaysian diplomatic ties.

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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 12:12 pm

Yeah Malaysia seems to get into rows with these countries every so often although they are usually based on very petty issues, e.g. a former Aussie PM calling Mahathir a "big headed". I don't think any country can afford to have bad relation with the US since they basically control the world whether you like it or not.

I don't think Malaysian diplomatic ties play any major role in the lack of US service in KUL. With SIN and BKK closeby there is little need for a direct service from the US. They have code share partners to serve the rest of the region. It's as simple as that. The same reason why NZ or QF don't serve most major European cities. Just pick the appropriate hub cities and serve from there.
Airbus Lover
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 12:38 pm


To answer your question. It is definitely not. Keno got it right.

NW tried opearting into KUL again from NRT with DC10s before Sept 11 but it wasn't working too well. Yield/passenger levels just isnt there. There are lots of airlines offering great connecting services from Malaysia to the US with very attractive fares and great services which is another factor.

With BKK and SIN being such strong hubs located closely from KUL is not helping either. NW/UA both operate into BKK and SIN.

As739: I have to say you have no idea what you are talking about... Security is not an issue with Malaysia that is for sure. Anti-American sentiments in Malaysia? Our governments might have little issues here and there but people in Malaysia could care less, we do not hate America for that matter neither do we have great love for it. However, it is true there is in general the less informed Malaysians do bear an impression of the USA being superior in everything and has no weakness or is a perfect modern country. They totally admire the USA.

Care to explain why KUL is out of reach? They can always make one stop services through north Asia if the demand is there like they did in the past. Not necessarily LAX, there is less connections to SFO from Malaysia.

Also, what "rural regions" in Malaysia are you refering to?
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 12:45 pm

From what I remember, from when I used to live in Japan and fly NW all the time, NW was going to start service to KUL and Jakarta but neither route got off the ground. They were going to offer the routes from Osaka in Japan. Narita did not have more space for NW at the time.
"Celui qui diffère de moi, loin de me léser, m'enrichit." - Saint-Exupéry
SIA fan
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 3:09 pm

Probably this is not true but I heard that Garuda was reluctant to let US carriers fly through NRT since it's one of GA's most lucrative routes. This was before the economic crisis and the war on terror.

I don't think a direct service is really necessary though, since there are already a lot of connecting services by SQ, CX, BR, etc.
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 3:15 pm

My guess is that Indonesia-US traffic have been negatively affected by the strict US visa requirements for Indonesian nationals. No US visa --> no ticket sales --> no justifications for direct flights. It also doesn't help to have Singapore Airlines in the neighbourhood.
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 3:26 pm

Airbus Lover & KEno,

well like in this case, i guess there's no use trying to rule out which factor is "correct" and which is "wrong". it's all speculation here : it could be security , poor loads , politics , so i can't exactly say i agree with Airbus Lover that "politics is definitely out". i prefer to sit on the fence coz' i dare say nobody knows for sure ; airline management involves a complexity of issues. the fun is just in speculating and reading the minds of these airline executives.

Airbus Lover : don't get offended about As739's remarks. take it in your stride !  Smile/happy/getting dizzy it's just an impression that Malaysia and Indonesia give to the Western world due to all those diplomatic rows and hype by the press. Impressions definitely do not reflect the true state of affairs, but they can change and affect the perceptions of people. Don't forget the ppl running airlines are only humans ; they are too have biases and their own perceptions ; hence the differences in airline cultures.

[Edited 2004-02-25 07:30:41]
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 4:14 pm


NW did serve KUL for a year or so. I was there in Oct99 and saw a NW DC10 there and it was on the board as a scheduled flight to KIX. I don't think NW ever started service to CGK although they had it listed in the schedules.

Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 5:04 pm

Ktliem@yvr is right about the lack of interests in the part of Malaysians and Indonesians spending their holidays in the US (and business to some extent) due to strict visa regulations nowadays. I suppose that could only mean good news to Canada as an alternative to the US.
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 5:43 pm

Indonesia now requires Visa on arrival for USD 30 and only limited to a 30 Day stay..I think this will be a big negative especially for Aussie families looking for a cost effective vacation... Sad Continental and the other airlines serving DPS were against it but they put it in anyway I can see if the want to charge a fee to visit but many people stayed more than 30 days..
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 6:53 pm

that Indonesian visa requirement is ridiculous ! especially at a time when everyone is trying to boost economic recovery by improving tourist flow at DPS.

come to think of it .. i don't really see many American tourists at Bali ... mostly Australian and a handful of Europeans. better beaches back home perhaps , or poor connectivity ?

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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 7:49 pm

Stop complaining about Indonesian visa fee. The trouble they have to go through to enter US is 10 times worse than you people having to pay to enter Indonesia. So stop whining!
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 8:55 pm

JeffrySkY: It's true there aren't many American tourists in Bali...perhaps Bali just too far...there are lots of beach vacations nearby..Hawaii, the Carribean, Mexico...I watched the E! show Wild on Bali and one of the Australians said that Bali is to Australians what Mexico is to Americans...so I don't think the problem is poor connectivity
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 9:26 pm

If i'm not mistaken, Malaysia airlines flies to EWR via DXB a few times a week with 777s. Did they stop that service?

In terms of tourism, I would imagine that Bali is just extremely far away from the United States as many other posts have hypothesized. However, there are certainly American tourists in Australia and Thailand and Singapore, which aren't really any close than Malaysia or Indonesia.

I would very much like to go on holiday in Malaysia to Kuala Lumpur, Penang and some beach towns as well. However, I have heard that if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport, you may have trouble getting through customs. Is that at all true? Does anyone know the official government policy regarding this issue?
History shall be kind to me; for I intend to write it -WSC
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:18 pm

Malaysia Airlines still serve EWR-DXB-KUL with 777 several times a week, together with LAX-TPE-KUL. Both were temporarily suspended after 9/11 but only for a short while.

Malaysia is not as strict as Arab nations on the issue of Israeli stamp on the passport, so there shouldn't be any problem getting through immigration. Malaysia's stand on Israel still hasn't changed, but having an Israeli stamp is hardly equal to an Israeli passport isn't it?

I've heard this issue being discussed before and there seems to be no problem with Malaysia and Indonesia. Morocco and Tunisia are okay too from what I heard, since they have quite a sizeable jewish population.
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:32 pm

I wonder if NW might have more success with NRT-KUL or NRT-CGK using 757s, whose smaller size might be more suitable for those markets. Range shouldn't be a problem, since CO flies the 757 on longer routes (such as EWR-LIM and various transatlantics).
Common sense is not so common. -Voltaire
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:51 pm

Garuda isn't a very healthy carrier either...they used to fly that crazy LAX-Honolulu-Biak-Bali-Jakarta DC10 flight but not anymore. No open skies yet with US - not needed quite yet...

And here is a fun fact - remember NW's WOrld Plane special paint scheme - that was right around the time that Jakarta was announced (along with KUL) - and Jakarta is actually one of the Asian cities depicted on the plane...

How funny is that?

Here is the picture (look over the wing - there's Jakarta!)
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Thu Feb 26, 2004 4:29 am

Garuda indeed is not a very healthy airline currently. The airline suffer from a ridiculous amount of debt which I thought it wasn't possible to pay off at the begining. However, the current management team performance is quite good actually, and the company restructuring is continuing. The problem with Garuda is that there once monopoly domestic market is being attacked by a numerous amount of new carriers that are charing extremely cheap price, like Lion Air and many more. Currently the country has more than 20 airlines serving a very small amount of passengers, so the competition is very intense.

Garuda will not open any intercontinental flights within this few years as the company starts to code share with MS. The only transcontinental that the company will keep is MS / EHAM), Netherlands">AMS, while LGW and FRA are dropped. The airline plans to concentrate of Asian market with China and India being the main target.

Traffic between Indonesia and US are mainly served by SQ, CX, JAL and KE.. Garuda will not survive if it enter the US market.

As for Indonesia, I think it is a relative safe country. I live there for more than seven years and I have not encounter any problem. The visa for arrival is indeed stupid, but I don't think its a big deal (US tourist visa US$100, Indonesia visa US$30).
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Thu Feb 26, 2004 8:33 pm

Garuda isn't a very healthy carrier either...

The airline was indeed in the doldrums as with the rest of the country when the Asian Financial Crisis struck in 97. The abysmal devaluation of the Indonesian Rupiah technically made almost all Indonesian companies bankrupt back then. As with most national carriers owned by the govt, the airline was over staffed.

They learnt a lesson and started restructuring and down sizing very rapidly. No more fuel guzzling DC9s and A300b (although the DC10 is till there, all 9 of them). They also returned the MD11s to the lessor. Destinations were withdrawn (Munich, London, Frankfurt, Honolulu, LAX...).

Now their fleet contains a very lean fleet of 3 744s, 20 or so 733/734/735, 5 or 6 A333 and 9 DC10s... I am not too sure about the numbers but they should be approximate.

They actually became profitable soon after and was so until last year when SARS and the Iraq war descended... And so the cycle begins again.

Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Thu Feb 26, 2004 10:07 pm

GA's Jakarta-Bali-Biak-Honolulu-LA sounds a bit like CO Micronesia's Islandhopper but on a grander scale...
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Fri Feb 27, 2004 12:22 am

Let me clarify a few things here.
Yes GARUDA used to run a LAX/HNL/BIK/DPS/CGK flight with a DC10 but that
was when they stared service in the mid 80s. You will be surprised to note
that even bigger and better aircraft served the route. We flew B747 combis and MD11s. The MD-11s flew nonstop CGK/HNL/LAX while the return flight
was LAX/HNL/DPS/CGK. Range was the determing factor, not necessarily the Island Hopper mentality.
The Asian Economic crisis did indeed cause the suspension of flights to LAX
in Nov 1997. As stated above the devaluation of the Rupiah created havoc with the Indonesian economy.
Los Angeles actually has the largest population of Indonesians anywhere in the world outside of Indonesia and Holland.
As far as cargo, when we ran the Combis, they were always full and with high yield. The problem was ridiculous lease rates for the aircraft that proved to be economically unattainable no matter how much cargo was moved. The going rate at that time for the aircraft was around $5000.00 per hour. The agreed costs for this lease was closer to $16,000.00 per hour or 3x higher than normal.
With the uncertainty in the travelling eye about Bali and Indonesia per say, there is not enough demand to resume service to LAX at the present time.
Most of the Indonesians that travel use BR or SQ. In fact SQ usually has 100 pax or more per flight going to CGK.
One can only hope GA will return to the US, but in the foreseeable future it does not seem possible.
Cargo doesn't whine, moan, or complain
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RE: US-Indonesia Service

Sat Feb 28, 2004 12:42 am

"Los Angeles actually has the largest population of Indonesians anywhere in the world outside of Indonesia and Holland"

Aren't you forgetting Singapore?


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