GARUDA Indonesia and Lion Air temporarily suspended flights to Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara. This happened due to the small number of passengers both departing and arriving following the implementation of emergency PPKM on the islands of Java and Bali.

According to Public Relations (Humas) Angkasa Pura I, El Tari Kupang Airport, Rahmat Sugeng, said that currently there are only three airlines operating, namely Batik Air, Wings Air, and Citilink.

“Lion Air closed its operations to the NTT region because it did not cover operational costs after the emergency PPKM in Java and Bali. But it will reopen on July 21,” he said.

The two airlines are no longer operating in the NTT region after the central government-imposed restrictions on flight services due to the booming number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia.

With the lack of incoming flight schedules, airport management was also forced to reduce airport operating hours from 06.00 -16.00 WITA to 06.00-15.00 WITA.

Rahmat added that the non-operation of Garuda and Lion Air had an impact on the decline in airplane passengers through Kupang’s El Tari Airport.

If on July 1 the number of planes coming and going reached 50 planes with a total number of passengers coming and going up to 3,309 people, then as of July 13 the number of planes was only 19 units with a total of only 675 passengers.

“If it is a percentage, there is a decrease in the number of aircraft traffic reaching 53%, while passengers reach 132%,” he added.

In addition to aircraft and passengers, a decline also occurred in the cargo or distribution section and the entry of goods through Kupang’s El Tari Airport.

Rahmat said that if as of July 1, the number of incoming cargoes reached 26,486 units, as of July 13, the total cargo would only reach 10,142 units. With a decrease in the percentage reaching 192%.

“Regarding the airport closure, AP I did not prohibit or close Kupang’s El Tari Airport. Until now, El Tari Airport is still operating as usual,” he concluded. [antaranews/photo special]