TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Government has been relentlessly promoting air travel in the domestic tourism sector which was freshly opened for the public this month. This strategy has sparked a gradual growth within the aviation industry destined for domestic tourist destinations.
“[The increase] is still slow but the average domestic flights can reach 40 percent again in the new normal,” said Novie Riyanto, Transportation Ministry’s director-general of air travel on Tuesday.
Without relaxing the plethora of health protocols, the transportation ministry continues to campaign for “safe travels” to popular tourist destinations such as Bali, Labuan Bajo, Yogyakarta, and Toba Lake. Out of 10 daily average flights, according to Riyanto, air traffic destined for Bali is now seeing 60 average daily flights.
Bali itself had opened its doors for local tourism on July 9. Local government plans to open its tourism sites for international tourists on September 11, if COVID-19 cases stay within the safe limit.
Head of the Indonesia National Air Carriers Association (INACA), Denon Prawiraatmadja, said domestic flight traffic is still far from returning to the conditions in 2018 and 2019. However, Denon said air carriers must capture the opportunity presented by the domestic tourism and business market.
Meanwhile, Garuda Indonesia president, Irfan Setiaputra, said the company he leads will continue to closely monitor the situation before adding flights to Bali. “The [flight] volume is indeed rising, but not significantly.”
Garuda Indonesia is currently still feeling the pressure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Normally the state-owned carrier would operate 16 flights per day, but under the pandemic is only able to operate one flight per day to Bali.
FRANCISCA CHRISTY ROSANA | YOHANES PASKALIS