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Jakarta Post

Q1 passenger traffic at Ngurah Rai falls 15%, but worst yet to come

  • Riza Roidila Mufti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 7, 2020   /   06:04 pm
 Q1 passenger traffic at Ngurah Rai falls 15%, but worst yet to come Tourists enjoy a quiet Kuta Beach in Bali on March 3. The number of tourist arrivals at the resort island has dropped significantly amid fears over COVID-19. (JP/Zul Trio Anggono)

Passenger traffic at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali, fell by 15 percent in the first quarter of this year, as the resort island grapples with a drop in tourist arrivals as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura I (AP I), which operates Ngurah Rai Airport and 14 others in central-eastern Indonesia, Bali’s main airport saw a drop in passenger traffic to 4.66 million in the January-March period from 5.39 million in the same months last year.  

But it seems that the worst is yet to come as tourist arrivals have continued to drop amid fears of COVID-19.

Bali Tourism Agency head I Putu Astawa revealed in Denpasar on Saturday that tourist arrivals had fallen about 95 percent from before the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Indonesia on March 2.

He added that an average of 500 travelers arrived in Bali every day; that compares to between 10,500 people and 11,000 people a day in 2019.

Tourist arrivals in Bali are currently dominated by Australians as the number of tourists from other countries, especially China, has dropped significantly, he said as reported by Antara news agency.

Read also: Tens of thousands of flights canceled in Indonesia because of COVID-19

During the first quarter of this year, AP I recorded 17.78 million passengers in its 15 airports across Indonesia, an 8.11 percent drop from 19.3 million in the same period last year. The operator also reported that cargo traffic at its airports had dropped by 16.98 percent to 121.12 million kilograms (kg) in the first quarter this year from 145.89 million kg in the same period in 2019.

In line with the drop, the operator also reported a decline in aircraft traffic to 175,143 flights in the first quarter from 184,085 flights during the same period last year.

“The decline began after Indonesia unveiled its first confirmed COVID-19 case at the beginning of March,” AP I president director Faik Fahmi said in a statement.

He added that traffic dropped further after the government imposed social restrictions to halt the spread of the disease in mid-March.

AP I manages 15 airports in central and eastern Indonesia, including Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar; Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java; Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi; and Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado, North Sulawesi.

According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), foreign tourist arrivals in January and February fell by 11.8 percent to 2.16 million people from 2.45 million people during the same period last year.