East Timor officially launched its first national airline Thursday, Timor Air, with plans to fly to Indonesia and Australia.
The airline will start flying from the East Timorese capital to the Indonesian holiday island of Bali and the northern Australian city of Darwin in February next year, founder Jeremias da Sousa told reporters.
Timor Air will initially operate one 94-seat Embraer E190 seven days a week, with 10 business class seats, said the businessperson, who has lived in Australia since fleeing Indonesia’s 1975 invasion of East Timor.
“I’m not interested in competing with anyone, I’m interested in the development of my country,” da Sousa said.
“The prices that I’ve fixed are so that Timorese can fly,” he said, without revealing how much tickets will cost.
East Timor is currently connected by air links to Bali, Darwin and Singapore.
“We, Timor-Leste, don’t want to be isolated,” parliamentary speaker Fernando Lasama said, using the country’s official name.
“I would like to say thank you to (foreign airlines) Air North and Merpati but at the same time, I also want to say that their prices are too high and their services are not very good,” he said.
“We think that competition will improve the situation.”
East Timor, one of the world’s youngest country’s, officially gained independence in 2002 after a brutal 24-year Indonesian occupation.