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Charter flights arranged to assist Australians in Indonesia



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M ED IA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

ALEXANDER DOWNER

FA60 16 May 1998

CHARTER FLIGHTS ARRANGED TO ASSIST AUSTRALIANS IN INDONESIA

In the light of developments in Indonesia the Government has today arranged the charter of commercial aircraft to assist with the departure of Australians from Jakarta.

The Government gives a high priority to the welfare of Australians overseas and the move has become necessary in the light of the high demand for seats on scheduled air services out o f Indonesia.

Places on the charter flights can be purchased by contacting the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra on the telephone number listed below. The charter operation parallels the actions of other countries, such as the United States and Singapore, in assisting their nationals to depart from Indonesia.

The first of the charter flights is expected to depart Jakarta in the early hours of Sunday 17 May. The charter flights will supplement but not replace regular commercial flights. Depending on demand, it is expected that there will be two flights of large bodied jets out of Jakarta each day over some days.

As a precautionary measure also, the Government has decided to increase the state of readiness of Australian defence force assets, including aircraft, against the possibility that they might be needed to assist the departure of Australians from Indonesia.

In the present circumstances, with commercial air operations and the new charter arrangements, this precaution is prudent but defence involvement is at this stage considered unlikely.

The current travel advice for Indonesia issued yesterday remains in force. Australians should defer all travel to Indonesia, with the exception of Bali, and Australians visiting or resident in Indonesia should consider leaving the country.

Contact No. for bookings on charter flights:

From Indonesia: 0018 036 1274 (hotel and private phones only) From Australia: 02 6261 2390.

Media Inquiries: Minister’s Office Innes Willox, 0411 414 695

Department Alan Walsh / Tony Melville, 0418 623 327

Media releases and speeches are available from DFAT via the internet, http://www.dfat.aov.au