Govt Temporarily Halts Charter Flights Carrying Foreign Workers

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • People walk with their luggage at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport to return to their hometowns, an activity known locally as

    People walk with their luggage at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport to return to their hometowns, an activity known locally as "mudik", amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, May 4, 2021. The Indonesian national COVID-19 task force officially issued travel restrictions ahead of and after the Eid Al Fitr holiday to reduce Covid-19 contagion while people travel from big cities to their native rural areas to celebrate the Eid Al Fitr. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaIndonesian government announced today, May 10, that it temporarily stopped charter flights carrying foreign workers from abroad during the period of the Eid homecoming or mudik ban.

    “It is valid until May 17, 2021,” said Transportation Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati when contacted by Tempo on Monday, May 10.

    Adita said the flight suspension did not apply to airlines carrying Indonesian citizens under repatriation purposes. The repatriation flight will run according to regulations. In addition, the government still allows flights to repatriate foreigners to their home countries. 

    Previously reported, the ministry’s Director-General of Air Transportation, Novie Riyanto, confirmed that hundreds of foreign workers from Wuhan entered Indonesia boarding charter flights.

    Novie explained the flight route was in accordance with the regulations and had met the immigration and health requirements, as well as the national interests, in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. The international flight route from Wuhan to Jakarta was served by Lion Air.

    “We ensure that it was a charter flight, not a scheduled one, and had met immigration and health requirements,” Novie said.

    The arrival of foreign workers during the Eid homecoming ban period was met with protests from a number of parties. A senior economist from the University of Indonesia, Faisal Basri, highlighted that the arrival of foreign nationals would allegedly shift the job opportunities for unemployed people in Indonesia.

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    FRANCISCA CHRISTY ROSANA