PT Garuda Indonesia President Director Irfan Setiaputra said the company’s revenue had dropped to 90% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with 70% of the aircraft being grounded because a number of routes were not operating.

“For Garuda Indonesia itself, our income has declined almost at the 90% level. Our aircraft is 70% parked and grounded. The majority of these flights have a load factor of under 50 percent. So this is very hard for Garuda and other airlines,” Irfan said in a webinar entitled Collaboration in Response to the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Recovery Strategy on the New Normal Life Order in the Transportation Sector.

He added that aviation was a very affected industry because of this pandemic because mobility had to be limited, while mobility was fundamental in the aviation industry.

In addition, he continued, the impact will not only stop at airlines, but also at airports, hotels and restaurants when flights are disrupted.

“Even worse, airlines are basically industries that are very capital intensive and the margins are below double digits. Once there is a shake like this it will be very rocky. There was a graphic that stated that at the beginning of March, it had drastically dropped, starting from passengers and income,” he noted.

However, he continued, as a national carrier, Garuda Indonesia still has an obligation to maintain connectivity, because of that it still operates international routes, such as from the Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea as well as domestic routes .

“For Garuda Indonesia, this is a unique situation that must be faced because this is not merely another airline that is not easy to say, we closed and we will wait for it when it is good. We are ‘national flight carriers’, our mandate is to ensure connectivity and connect between nations,” he said.

For this reason, Irfan explained, his side slowly reduced the frequency of flights on a number of routes.

“Dynamically we see the level of charge and then slowly we decrease the frequency of the flight. As before six times a week to Amsterdam now only once a week. But to ensure this connectivity occurs we must ensure that the movement of people who have to move occurs. Because if we don’t imagine the situation in the 60’s that forced us to think long time to move,” he concluded. [antaranews/photo special]