In an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Indonesian authorities will prohibit both international and domestic air travel from tomorrow through to June 1st. Largely an Islamic country, this move coincides with the start of Ramadan – a time when Muslims travel to their hometowns.
Travel restriction details
According to information obtained from RoutesOnline, the country’s transport ministry is also applying travel restrictions to land and sea travel.
However, there will, of course, be exceptions and special allowances against these restrictions. In fact, cargo and logistics operations will be able to continue, as will transportation related to law enforcement and other official purposes. For international operations, flights in and out of Indonesia will be allowed to continue for repatriation purposes.
Reuters reports that the ban on sea travel took immediate effect. However, air travel was given an additional day to allow a number of pre-booked flights to proceed. The transport ministry adds that this ban may be extended beyond the set five weeks, if necessary.
Which airlines are affected?
It’s clear that Indonesian carriers will be disproportionately affected by this travel ban. Indonesia’s airspace is mainly comprised of eight airlines each belonging to one of four groups.
- Garuda Group: This includes full-service carrier Garuda Indonesia and low-cost carrier Citilink.
- Lion Group: This is made up of Lion Air, Wings Air, and Batik Air.
- Sriwijaya Group: Sriwijaya Air and Nam Air comprise this group.
- AirAsia Indonesia: This airline is part of the AirAsia family of airlines which operate all over southeast Asia.
All airlines operate internationally under normal circumstances – primarily within the Southeast Asia region. Some carriers also operate service to Australia. However, as many countries have already imposed their own travel restrictions, there are few international services that will be impacted by this latest move.
Citilink was to launch service to Japan on May 2nd – this will obviously have to be postponed. The airline was also set to begin flights to Germany on June 2nd. It is unknown if this travel ban will force it to shift its start date.
On the domestic side, RoutesOnline reports that, as of the start of this week, Lion Air had the largest portion of domestic seats at 33.4%. Other carriers like Citilink, Sriwijaya, and Batik Air ranged between 12 and 15%.
Indonesia hasn’t been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic in the same way other countries have. In fact, according to Worldometer, the country has one of the lower cases per capita compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors. At the time of writing, Indonesia has recorded 30 cases per 1 million while Thailand and the Philippines have 41 and 66, respectively. Malaysia is on the higher end with 176.
The country’s “new cases per day” count appears to have leveled off and is possibly in decline. This latest move by the government will hopefully ensure that the situation does not worsen and will indeed continue to improve.
What do you think of this latest travel ban? Are you surprised? Let us know your thoughts and if your travel plans are affected by leaving a comment.