The Jakarta Post
National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has stated its willingness to set out on a repatriation mission for Indonesian citizens trapped in a number of provinces in China outside Hubei, where the Wuhan coronavirus epidemic first broke out.
“Garuda is ready whenever the government asks to evacuate Indonesian citizens from other cities in China,” president director Irfan Setiaputra said after a meeting in Jakarta on Wednesday, tempo.co reported.
Irfan said Garuda was not able to reach Hubei because the airline had no flights to the region.
Garuda is also ready to fly home the evacuees who are currently under two-week observation and quarantine in Natuna, Riau Islands, if needed.
Nevertheless, Garuda might have a problem reaching Natuna as the airline uses wide-body aircraft, said Irfan.
“The government has not yet discussed sending home [the evacuees] from Natuna. But again, we are ready. We have flights to Batam as well,” said Irfan.
The government has repatriated 238 Indonesian nationals from Wuhan and its surrounding cities in Hubei following the coronavirus outbreak.
Many applauded the heroism and bravery of Batik Air, a Lion Air subsidiary, which used an Airbus A330 in the evacuation over the weekend.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said the evacuation would be carried out carefully and with consideration to recommendations from the relevant ministries and institutions.
The government is discussing efforts to handle around 3,000 Indonesian citizens in China after Indonesia imposed a travel ban to and from mainland China on Wednesday. (syk)