by Elisa Valenta
Commercial airlines resume flights to serve domestic routes amid the large-scale social restriction (PSBB). Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia resumed commercial operations on Thursday after the government decided to exempt business, emergency and repatriation flight from a travel ban. Garuda’s budget airline subsidiary, Citilink Indonesia has returned to serving domestic flights starting Friday. Meanwhile, Lion Air group, which includes country’s largest budget airline Lion Air, Wings Air and Batik Air will resume its flights tomorrow.
On Wednesday, the government decided that business and emergency trips and flights to repatriate Indonesian citizens from overseas would be exempted from the COVID-19 travel ban. However, each airline requires passengers to provide certain documents before they board a flight. Garuda requires passengers to submit a Travel Endorsement paper from a particular company or institution as the endorser, which states that the passenger’s purpose of travel, is not for ‘mudik’ purposes.
To ensure the safety and comfort of passengers and cabin crews during the flight amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Garuda Indonesia urges passengers to put on a reusable non-medical mask at the airport and during flight.
On the other hand, Lion Air will perform pre-flight health checks and worthy-for-flight tests on crewmembers before departure. Lion Air group will apply physical distancing seating arrangement onboard by omitting middle seats in the three-seat configurations of economy class. The passengers will either be seated by the window or by the aisle. “On the business class with two-seat configurations, we will apply a zig-zag seating arrangement,” said Danang Mandala Prihantoro, Lion Air Group corporate communications strategic officer, in a statement on Thursday.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said it would be possible for the government to allow all modes of public transportation to resume operation on Thursday to accommodate particular individuals while maintaining the ban on this year’s Idul Fitri mudik.
However, this policy was issued after country’s Statistic Bureau (BPS) announced Indonesia's GDP grew at its weakest pace since 2001 to 2.97% year-on-year in the first quarter this year, due to coronavirus pandemic.