The Jakarta Post
Low-cost carrier PT Citilink Indonesia, a subsidiary of Garuda Indonesia Group, conducted an operational test for its freighter fleet on Tuesday to support its cargo business.
The freighter, with a load capacity of 13 tons, is a Boeing B737-500 aircraft converted to carry cargo instead of passengers.
The conversion was done by Garuda Indonesia Group’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) subsidiary, PT Garuda Maintenance Facilities (GMF) AeroAsia, and has been certified by the Transportation Ministry’s Airworthiness and Aircraft Operation Directorate (DKUPPU).
“Citilink hopes that the operation of the freighter will contribute quite significant additional income [to the airline], aside from the passengers revenue,” Citilink president director Juliandra said in a press release published on Wednesday.
He noted that the airline’s shift to cargo services was a move to seize opportunities in the growing cargo market.
On its test run yesterday, Citilink’s new freighter flew from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, to Hang Nadim International Airport in Batam, Riau Islands, and Kualanamu International Airport in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra.
The aircraft will enter operations after Idul Fitri, which falls on May 24 and 25, and will carry cargo for both domestic and foreign routes, especially those in the Asian region.
Many national airlines that predominantly operate passenger flights have reportedly shifted to the cargo business to cover losses from the COVID-19 pandemic that has severely hit passenger demand and airlines’ revenue.
According to data from the Finance Ministry, the combined revenue losses among local airlines amounted to Rp 207 billion (US$13.4 million) as of April 15.
Meanwhile, Indonesia National Air Carrier Association (INACA) data show that the volume of domestic and international airfreight in Indonesia also dropped 39 percent from the average rate.