TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said that state airliner Garuda Indonesia is willing to transport Indonesian citizens from Hubei Province, China, back to their respective regions. The citizen will be transported after undergoing a series of quarantine process on Natuna Island, Riau Islands.
"Garuda has promised to repatriate Indonesian citizens to their regions. Garuda has an initiative," Budi Karya said at a hearing at the House of Representatives Commission V, Senayan Parliament Complex, Jakarta, Wednesday, 5 February 2020.
The Minister ensured that the evacuation would be carried out carefully and consider various recommendations from the relevant ministries and institutions.
Garuda Indonesia President Director Irfan Sebuahutra said there had not been any detailed talks between the airliner and the regulator about the return of Indonesian citizens from Natuna. However, he stated he was ready if his office at any time requested by the government to assist the repatriation process of Indonesian citizens.
"We are ready if requested," said Irfan.
In addition, Irfan also claimed that the state airliner will be ready to repatriate Indonesian citizens from several provinces in China other than Hubei Province if the government asks.
Currently, Garuda Indonesia has 40 flight routes to China per week. Dozens of flights landed in seven different cities.
The government previously repatriated 238 Indonesians from Hubei Province following the coronavirus outbreak. They are now under a quarantine period before being sent back to their respective regions.
Natuna was chosen to be the location of observation for Indonesian citizens who had just returned from Wuhan, partly because of the presence of a military base there.