AIRPORT operators expect the airline industry’s recovery to return to pre-pandemic levels, starting with domestic routes in 2023.

According to the Managing Director of PT Angkasa Pura II Muhammad Awaluddin said this was inseparable from the characteristics of an archipelago with a high level of demand for domestic routes.

Based on his observations, the recovery of the domestic route will start from the Java-Sumatra route, which has so far taken 26% of the domestic market share. That number is equivalent to 23.4 million passenger movements.

Then Intra Jawa which is the second largest market share, namely 18% with 16.5 million movements. After that the Java-Kalimantan route with 9% market share or as many as 8 million passengers.

“The figures we estimate at the end of 2023 for domestic routes can start with the composition before the crisis. We are still blessed with domestic routes. If international traffic can recover with an additional one year longer, namely 2024,” he said.

Based on the scenario, the level of confidence in new passengers will slowly start to grow in 2021 with 92 million domestic passengers and 16 million international passengers. Then in 2022, namely 124 million domestic passengers and 22 million international passengers. Then followed by 155 million domestic passengers and 29 million international passengers.

Meanwhile, international routes will come from the Southeast Asia region, which has dominated 14% of the demand level with around 12.8 million passengers. Followed by the Middle East with 3% 3.1 million passengers.

Meanwhile, VP Corpprate Communication of PT Angkasa Pura I Handy Heryudhitiawan said that the recovery period for flight traffic during this pandemic could not be done in a short time because all parties needed to implement health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 consistently and well.

Until now, he said, domestic flights were the main hope for increasing flight movements because regular or commercial international flights were still closed until the end of 2020.

Angkasa Pura I projects that passenger traffic in 2023 can return to what it was in 2019 or before the pandemic, which reached 87 million passengers. As for 2020, Angkasa Pura I projects passenger traffic to only be 26 million passengers, around 65 million passengers in 2021, and 76 million passengers in 2022.

Currently Angkasa Pura I is also trying to improve services during this pandemic so that prospective passengers can go through the process of checking flight requirements documents relatively easily and comfortably. One of them is by providing rapid test facilities at almost all managed airports at a relatively very affordable price of IDR85,000.

In addition, Angkasa Pura I collaborated with Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) to implement Safe Corridor Innitiative (SCI) guidelines in which I Gusti Ngurah Rai Bali Airport became a pilot project for implementing SCI in the world. These SCI guidelines are global standard guidelines regarding the implementation of health protocols at airports.

“We hope that the implementation of strict health protocols and the ease of the inspection process at the airport can increase public confidence in air travel and in the end can increase flight traffic even if slowly,” he stressed. [antaranews/photo special]