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Indonesia and Russia on Monday renewed their air service agreement to conduct direct flights between each nation, the Antara news agency reported.

"The new agreement is made to replace the old one made in 1990 and provides an important step for development of bilateral cooperation," said Herry Bakti Gumay, director general of air transportation.

Under the terms of the new deal, Indonesian and Russian airlines are able to conduct regular commercial direct flights between the two countries. In addition, the two sides agreed to appoint four airports in each nation to serve as the sole destinations for the direct routes.

"Flights to Russia from Indonesia may be carried out from Jakarta, Manado (North Sulawesi), Solo (Central Java) and Denpasar (Bali) while flights from Russia may be done from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vladivostok and Novosibrisk," added Herry.

Currently, Indonesia-Russia flights are served by Russian airlines Transaero from Russia flying from Denpasar (Bali) to Moscow and vice versa five times a week. With the new agreement, other airlines can operate direct routes too.

On Friday, Indonesia and Russia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in air transportation cooperation during the seventh joint assembly for economy, trade and technical cooperation.

The signing was done by Russian Deputy Minister of Transportation Okulov and his Indonesian counterpart Bambang Susantono in Jakarta. The deal was designed to improve the cooperation in economic, trade, business, cultural and tourism fields.

According to the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism more than 80,000 Russian tourists visited the South Asian nation in 2010. The new agreement is expected to increase flows of tourists, and economic, trade and investment cooperation.

Channel6News.com

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