Garuda Indonesia complained in early July that although they are operating regular flights between Jakarta and Bali, passenger loads remain very low.
As reported by Kompas.com, the Indonesian national flag carrier found operating in “the new normal” between Jakarta and Bali problematic due to the lack of passengers on each flight.
Blaming low passenger loads on the stringent requirements imposed by the Province of Bali on travelers arriving or departing Denpasar, the CEO of Garuda, Irfan Setiaputra, reminisced that in the period before the COVID-19 Pandemic the airline operated 16 flights daily to the Ngurah Rai International Airport. With the reopening of Bali’s airport to domestic flights, the single airplane now operating between Jakarta and Bali carries no more than 20 paying passengers.
“Before COVID, we flew as many as 16 daily flights to Denpasar, almost all fully booked,” said Setiaputra testifying before the Indonesian House of Representative (DPR-RI) on Tuesday, 7 July 2020. The Airline’s Chief Executive told legislators that the requirement that passengers must hold a COVID-19 test certificate based on a PCR Swab test was the major cause of low passenger numbers.
Proclaiming that Garuda understands the rationale for the tests, the National Carrier was working with the Province of Bali and other domestic destinations to relax entry requirements to demanding only a Rapid Test.
Setiaputra said that in the current situation, only three types of passengers were flying on Garuda. First, those traveling on official business. Second, those on social missions, and finally those on holiday.
As a response to the pleas of the airlines and travel community, Bali now only requires a Rapid Test Certificate for those flying to or from the Ngurah Rai International Airport.