Indonesia's Merpati plans flights to East Timor

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Indonesia's Merpati Nusantara Airlines is planning a new service between East Timor's capital Dili and Cupang, a port city in the Indonesian half of Timor island.

This comes as the two countries try to re-establish air links, with the start of commercial flights pending the confirmation of a memorandum of understanding between the respective foreign affairs ministers.

Merpati plans to operate thrice weekly on the route, and could increase this to four weekly if passenger volume and demand increases, says a spokesman from the Indonesian carrier. He was unable to say when the MoU might be signed or when services could begin.

The airline will use its Boeing 737-300 aircraft for the service, he adds.