The Jakarta Post
State-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura I (AP I) has recorded a significant increase in passengers in June, as the government relaxes travel restrictions and gradually reopens the economy.
The number of passengers in the country’s 15 airports managed by AP I was recorded at more than 222,000 passengers in the first half of June, a stark contrast from around 76,000 passengers flying in the entire month of May.
Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi was the busiest among AP I managed airports in the first half of June, tailed by Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, which recently became an emerging COVID-19 epicenter.
“Throughout the beginning to mid-June, there was an indication of passenger traffic increase from May, when the government was still implementing travel restrictions. AP I is optimistic that passenger traffic will gradually increase,” the company’s president director, Faik Fahmi, said in a press release Wednesday.
As a guideline for air travel during the transition to the “new normal”, the government recently issued a circular on air travel. The regulation allows airlines to increase passenger numbers per flight to 70 percent of the respective aircraft’s capacity, up from the previous 50 percent, seen as a major boost to the ailing aviation industry.
The pandemic-related large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) have severely weakened demand for air travel. According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the number of domestic air passengers fell 85.18 percent year-on-year (yoy) in April to around 840,000, while international air passenger numbers fell 98.26 percent yoy.
Despite the surge in June, AP I’s total number of passengers between January and May dipped 40.36 percent to 18.7 million from the same period last year.
The airport in the country’s main tourism hub Bali, I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, recorded the steepest passenger decline with 4.76 million passengers as of May, a 47.13 percent yoy decline, as the country temporarily banned foreign visitors from entering Indonesia in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Another airport operator, state-owned Angkasa Pura II (AP II), also recorded an increase in passengers in early June following the government’s travel restriction relaxation policy, which came into force June 8.
The number of passengers in AP II’s 19 airports doubled to 14,700 passengers on June 10, from an average of 7,000 passengers on June 8 and June 9.
The passenger traffic hike in both companies’ airports was also supported by airlines that had resumed flight operation. The country’s biggest airliner, Lion Air Group, resumed operations on June 10, after a temporary flight suspension earlier this month.
“The number of passengers is slowly rising and stakeholders in our airports are working to ensure that health protocols are implemented,” the company’s president director, M. Awaluddin, said on June 11 in an official statement.