Garuda Indonesia Operates Normally amid Coronavirus Crisis

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  • Indonesians evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship are checked by health officials wearing protective suits as they arrive to be transported to Sebaru island for observation, at Kertajati International airport in Majalengka, West Java province, Indonesia, March 1, 2020. A Garuda Indonesia plane carrying 69 crew members of coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship landed at Kertajati Airport in Majalengka, West Java, just before midnight on Sunday. Antara Foto/Muhammad Adimaja

    Indonesians evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship are checked by health officials wearing protective suits as they arrive to be transported to Sebaru island for observation, at Kertajati International airport in Majalengka, West Java province, Indonesia, March 1, 2020. A Garuda Indonesia plane carrying 69 crew members of coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship landed at Kertajati Airport in Majalengka, West Java, just before midnight on Sunday. Antara Foto/Muhammad Adimaja

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaGaruda Indonesia President Director Irfan Setiaputra confirmed that the airline will be operating as usual despite taking hits from the coronavirus outbreak. As recently reported, the coronavirus disease or Covid-19 had adversely affected the financial performance of the aviation industry.

    "We are still operating normally," Irfan told Tempo on Thursday, March 26, 2020. Irfan mentioned that the airline had not yet closed many routes or flight schedules, or laid-off employees. "Not yet," he added.

    On another occasion, Irfan admitted that the company's revenue was quite affected by the outbreak lately, which had been declared as a pandemic by the WHO. "We take pretty bad hits, but that's it," said Irfan at Graha Manggala Wanabakti in Jakarta on Sunday, March 8, 2020.

    Nevertheless, Irfan refused to provide further details related to the decline in revenue of the state airliner due to the pneumonia-like disease. 

    "If asked about the drop in earnings, of course, there are losses. But we, as the board of directors, are always trying to seek solutions, what we can do [to fix this]," Irfan added.

    Previously, the Indonesian National Air Carriers Association or INACA demanded incentives from the government for the aviation industry amid the coronavirus outbreak given its direct impact on the sector. To date, all airlines have reduced their flights both routes and frequency by over 50 percent.

    CAESAR AKBAR