Lion Air Group to resume flights tomorrow following brief suspension

A Lion Air plane in Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A Lion Air plane in Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

After only a week since announcing that it would halt operations, Lion Air Group said that it will be serving scheduled domestic flights starting tomorrow.

The largest airline group in Indonesia previously announced that they would ground their flights starting on June 5 “until further notice.”

This most recent announcement will effectively put domestic flights served by the group’s airlines to commence operations after only a 5-day hiatus, namely low-cost carriers Lion Air and Wings Air, as well as full-service airline Batik Air.

“Prospective aircraft passengers have increasingly understood and will be able to meet the requirements needed for air travel set during the period of COVID-19,” Lion Air Group’s spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantoro said in a statement issued today.

Danang said the current requirements are simpler compared to before, referring to an official circular concerning traveling intended for the transitional period to normalize new habits amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It stipulates that prospective aircraft passengers will only need to present proof of undergoing a COVID-19 test, such as a swab test (PCR) or a rapid test.

In cases where COVID-19 tests are not yet available at the passenger’s place of origin, they have to obtain a statement of health that states they are free of influenza-like illnesses from a local hospital or Puskesmas (community clinic).

Other than the standard COVID-19 health protocols, including wearing face masks and maintaining physical distance, passengers are also expected to arrive at the terminal four hours before departure, as they would be subject to additional checks during this time. 

In late April, Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry banned domestic and international commercial flights throughout Indonesia, following the government’s mudik homecoming exodus ban. Since then, the Lion Air Group has been closing and reopening its domestic routes. 

In mid-May, the ministry’s Air Transport Directorate General said it would take firm action against Batik Air, which allegedly violated provisions on limiting the number of passengers to around 50 percent from the full capacity.

Under current flight restriction rules, only passengers working in certain essential sectors, such as defense, health, and logistics, as well as those with personal emergencies are permitted to fly on the significantly reduced number of domestic flights available in Indonesia. Those exempted from the restrictions are also required to present several documents, including a travel endorsement from one’s company/institution and a COVID-19-negative medical certificate.

Domestic passengers entering Jakarta are also required to present an Entry and Exit Permit (SKIM) upon arrival. 

Outgoing international flights are still available in limited numbers, with international passengers entering Indonesia being subject to a more stringent health screening process.

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