Indonesia’s flag carrier Garuda Indonesia plans to launch direct flights from Jakarta to Moscow in August 2017. Operated by Airbus A330-200, this route will be served three times a week.

The new direct flight route is a part of bilateral agreement between Indonesia and Russia. It is formed in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Mikhail Kuritsyn, the representative of Indonesia Business Council of Russia, and CEO & President of Garuda Indonesia Arif Wibowo, witnessed by Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Mikhail Galuzyn and Indonesian Ambassador to Russia Wahid Supriyadi.

Arif Wibowo said: "We are trying to accelerate plans regarding the launch of direct flights to Moscow in August. We will fly three times a week using wide body aircraft Airbus A330-200."

In accordance with the potential increase in tourist traffic between the two countries, the direct flight services to Moscow is expected to improve Russian tourist visits up to 100 thousand tourists in 2017. The visit of Russian tourist to Indonesia increased by 14% in the first half of 2016. Similarly, the number of Indonesian citizens’ visit to Russia is also quite large. In 2015 there were about 14,000 people.

Emirsyah Satar, ex-CEO of Indonesia’s national airline Garuda Indonesia, is suspected to have taken bribes related to the purchase of planes and engines. Indonesian authorities also mention a second unnamed suspect.

Arif added that the plan to open Jakarta - Moscow services in the mid-2017 marks a series of Garuda Indonesia international flight network expansion in 2017. In addition to Moscow, in the middle of this year, Garuda Indonesia will also launch Jakarta - Los Angeles via Tokyo.

Meanwhile, Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Mikhail Yurievich Galuzyn expected the direct flight from Indonesia and Russia will further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries, especially in economics and tourism sector.

Galuzyn said: "Realization of the direct flight plan between Russia and Indonesia has become one of our main priorities in the effort to increase the numbers of tourists visit to Russia.”