Indonesia’s North Kalimantan government is encouraging more airlines to provide air services to its province, that is currently dominated by Lion Air Group, so as to provide alternatives for local residents.

The provincial government in North Kalimantan says it has contacted several Indonesian carriers hoping that airlines can serve its region, media outlet Tribun Kaltara reports.

Andi Nasuha, head of the North Kalimantan Transportation Agency transportation development division, says North Kalimantan governor, Zainal Arifin Paliwang, has also written to airlines asking for scheduled services to destinations in North Kalimantan such as Tanjung Harapan, Juwata and Malinau, the report says. 

Nasuha says the response is positive and at least two airlines – Citilink and AirAsia – might launch services to North Kalimantan in future.

Nasuha says the easing of travel restrictions in Indonesia could influence the airlines’ decision, because if passengers increase it means demand will outpace supply.

Lion Air, Wings Air and Batik Air serve North Kalimantan, but all three are part of Lion Air Group. 

Nasuha says the government hopes new airlines entering the market will result in ticket prices becoming more competitive. 

Indonesia’s airline market has consolidated over the years, a trend that accelerated during the pandemic as carriers scaled back services or exited the market. 

Expressair, for example, operated to Robert Atty Bessing Airport, which is in North Kalimantan’s Malinau regency, but the Indonesian carrier shuttered its operation after the pandemic hit Indonesia in March 2020. Expressair was also serving other destinations in Kalimantan. 

Featured Photo from shows Robert Atty Bessing Airport.