Jakarta. Garuda Indonesia, the country flag carrier, plans to add extra flights to and from the Zainuddin Abdul Madjid Lombok International Airport in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, to accommodate Moto GP fans who wish to watch the motorbike race on the day but are unable to book a hotel on the island.
"We prepared several additional flights to Lombok from Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bali on the [race] day, so [fans] leave can early in the morning, return after the main race or in the evening," Irfan Setiaputra, Garuda Indonesia's president director told the Globe's affiliate television station, Berita Satu TV, on Wednesday.
Mandalika Circuit in Lombok will host the second series of MotoGP races on March 18-20. That will be the first time the circuit hosted a MotoGP event.
Hotels on the island have been fully booked, with more than 100,000 team members and visitors are expected to attend the race. According to the West Lombok District tourism department, 2,000 hotel rooms in the Senggigi area, about one and a half-hour away from Mandalika, are already full around the race date.
The tourism department said it is preparing to turn locals' homes into temporary homestays to accommodate more tourists on the island.
Even with the additional room from homestays, concerns about the lack of accommodation on the island remain. So, Garuda said it would prepare extra flights for potential spectators who had to stay in Bali, Surabaya, or Jakarta, Irfan said.
It only takes 40 minutes to fly from Bali to Lombok and about 30 minutes drive from the Lombok airport to Mandalika circuit. Flights from Jakarta and Surabaya take two and one hours, respectively.
"We are committed to supporting MotoGP fully. So beforehand, we apologize to prospective passengers because ahead of MotoGP, the frequency of other routes is reduced for the success of MotoGP," Irfan said.