PRESIDENT Director of Garuda Indonesia Airlines, Irfan Setiaputra said that the signal of bankruptcy of national airlines was due to the COVID-19 pandemic which had already been experienced by airlines in a number of countries.

“You certainly know a lot of airlines that declare bankruptcy. Near us is Thai Airways. So there is no need to be too surprised if in the near future there are airlines in Indonesia that can no longer stand it,” said Irfan in a hearing  with the House of Representatives (DPR’s) Commission X in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The statement was in response to the proposed discount that was considered impossible to give again because the airline’s own financial condition had been plummeted due to passenger restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s important to get low prices, but please understand that today the aviation industry is experiencing a huge blow, we have 10% of passengers. If asked for a discount at a lower price, our classification may soon become more difficult,” he said.

He explained, one sector that is closely related to the aviation industry is the tourism sector where the Garuda airline itself loses passengers of foreign tourists from a number of countries that are the biggest contributors to foreign tourists, one of which is Australia.

“However, Australia has imposed a ban on its citizens to travel until the end of the year, including to Bali. It said the number of foreign tourists dropped dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic by 87 percent in April 2020 and increasingly dropped to 90% in May 2020,” Irfan noted.

He added, we hope that tourism will begin to increase in July 2020, but we have seen that there are some things that we need to pay attention to in this recovery. This is an important collaboration. Because once the industry recovers, tourism will recover quickly.

To that end, Irfan said it focuses on domestic tourists and strives for the public to regain confidence in flying by implementing strict health protocols even though it impacts revenue.

“So, Garuda and friends in the airline operator industry, focus on ensuring new normal in the aircraft because it is important to increase people’s confidence in traveling. Garuda emphasized this problem. We are very focused on ‘physical distancing’. even though we know from an operational and revenue perspective that this has a big impact. But, for us it’s even more important to make sure the public is sure to fly again so that it recovers from the industry faster,” he affirmed.

The second attempt was made, namely cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy to carry out promotions.

“So we will ‘raise the teaser’ back to Bali. secondly encourage Indonesian society, if you decide to take a vacation again, just go on holiday in Indonesia ” he stated.

Irfan added that his party is also working with airport operators, namely PT Angkasa Pura I an II and the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises to initiate aviation holding.

“Where the AP I and AP II Garuda-Pelita are combined into one combined into one makes it easier for actions to increase one-stop tourism. We can expect a situation like Dubai and Qatar with the cooperation of ‘stakeholders’ holding aviation,” he concluded. [antaranews/photo special]