TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Garuda Indonesia President Director Irfan Setiaputra ensured that his side will not yet close international routes albeit the company is facing liquidity problems. The efficiency effort being carried out is limited to reducing the flight frequency for certain routes.
“[We] just reduce the flight frequency,” Irfan told Tempo on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.
Irfan has not yet decided which routes will be affected as the management is still conducting a review. “It’s still being reviewed,” he added.
The national flag carrier had once closed international routes in January 2020. The management deactivated flights to London and Nagoya at that time. The closure of these routes was based on the evaluation from the State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Minister Erick Thohir.
“Pak Erick has talked about it since the first time he asked me [to be Garuda President Director]. I promised him at that time that I will review [overseas routes]. I have conducted a review since the first week [of my office],” Irfan added.
According to him, Erick asked the airline to focus on serving domestic flights. Based on the SOE Ministry report, Garuda had 78 percent of domestic passengers and 22 percent of foreign passengers in 2019 or before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Besides, Irfan said the airline could not suddenly close overseas flights as there are citizens who needed to be served. “People need planes to commute. It is important for us as a national flight carrier and it is our mandate to ensure that people can travel,” said Irfan in an interview with Tempo on June 4.
Garuda Indonesia is now operating 53 of its total 142 planes. In a statement filed with the Indonesia Stock Exchange, the airline management said the operation of aircraft during the pandemic is adjusted to the market and demand for flight services.
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FRANCISCA CHRISTY ROSANA | BISNIS