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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Soekarno-Hatta airport hit by declines in flight frequency, passenger numbers

  • Muh. Ibnu Aqil and Marchio Irfan Gorbiano

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, March 9, 2020   /   08:50 pm
COVID-19: Soekarno-Hatta airport hit by declines in flight frequency, passenger numbers The interior of Terminal 3 Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten. (JP /Wendra Ajistyatama)

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cengkareng, Banten, has suffered a decrease in both flight frequency and passenger numbers as a result of the restrictions imposed to stop COVID-19 from spreading throughout the country. 

The airport is the main access point for entering Indonesia.

“In January, the number of flights was still normal,” airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II president director Muhammad Awaluddin told a press conference on COVID-19 at the State Palace in Jakarta on Monday.

The fears over the coronavirus outbreak hit Indonesia hard after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced the first two cases of COVID-19 on March 2. 

As of Monday, the confirmed cases of the virus in Indonesia had risen to 19

Awaluddin went on to say that January’s flight frequency actually went up by 3 percent, while the passenger numbers rose by 7 percent. 

“However, in February, they started to drop. A decrease of 6 percent in the flight frequency and 4 to 5 percent in the passenger numbers,” he said, adding that possible slumps by 9 percent in both flight frequency and passenger numbers could occur in March. 

On a daily basis, Soekarno-Hatta airport caters to 1,200 flights and 200,000 passengers, of whom a quarter are on international flights.

Awaluddin said the airport operator had implemented health measures since January, in regard to the lockdown of Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus in mainland China. The government stopped direct flights between Indonesia and Wuhan on Jan. 22. 

Later all flights to and from all of mainland China were banned on Feb. 5.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian authorities have temporarily barred umrah (minor haj) pilgrims and tourists. 

Read also: Saudi Arabia reopens Mecca, Medina holy sites after coronavirus closure: state TV

Indonesia has also temporarily closed the door to people traveling from Tehran, Qom and Gilan in Iran; Lombardi, Venetto, Emilia-Romagna, Marche and Piedmont regions in Italy; as well as Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do in South Korea without providing a valid health certificate.

Read also: Indonesia bars visitors from virus-hit regions in Iran, South Korea, Italy

Soekarno-Hatta airport authorities have also required body temperature checks for passengers by means of a thermal scanner, as well as asking them to fill out health cards, which are used by the authorities to track their health records over the previous 14 days.