Aviation industry recovering after pandemic: Transportation Ministry

As of November, Kertajati Airport is ready to serve commercial flights and Umrah flights as well

JAKARTA (ANTARA) — The aviation industry, which has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, is beginning to recover, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation of the Ministry of Transportation said.

“The pandemic had caused significant damage to the airline industry, including decreased passenger and cargo numbers. Now the industry has bounced back,” the ministry’s acting director-general for civil aviation, Nur Isnin Istiartono, said here on Tuesday.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global airline industry has started to improve.

In June 2022, domestic and international air traffic reached an average of 70 percent compared to the pre-pandemic level in 2019, he said.

In particular, domestic air traffic reached 81 percent, and international air traffic reached 65 percent.

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According to him, the drop in passengers during the pandemic came in line with restrictions on community mobility aimed at maintaining health protocols. The pandemic prompted a number of airlines to downsize their fleets and close routes to reduce operating costs.

For example, prior to the pandemic, Kertajati Airport in Majalengka district of West Java operated several flights that had to be closed due to the pandemic. During the pandemic, the airport only served cargo flights, Istiartono said.

“From November, Kertajati Airport will be ready to serve commercial flights and umrah flights as well,” he added.

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He further said that the Directorate-General would continue efforts to help airlines reopen flight routes to and from Kertajati Airport.

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In addition, the plan to open the Cisumdawu (Cileunyi-Sumedang-Dawuan) toll road in October 2022 will help accelerate the recovery of Kertajati Airport as the toll road will shorten the travel time from Bandung to Kertajati Airport to just one hour.

Meanwhile, Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma Airport has also started commercial flights following its revitalization aimed at maintaining flight safety and preparing for Indonesia’s G20 Presidency events.

Several small airports in Java are also beginning to recover, including Ngloram Airport in Blora, General Sudirman Airport in Purbalingga and Wiriadinata Airport in Tasikmalaya.

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Istiartono said it will take time for the aviation sector to return to its pre-pandemic state as aircraft numbers are still very limited at the moment.

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Currently, the number of operational aircraft is only 55 to 60 percent of what it was in 2019, before the pandemic broke out, he added.

Still, Istiartono said he was confident that with good collaboration and collaboration between relevant ministries and institutions and the involvement of local governments and aviation stakeholders, the recovery effort will go well.

“We continue to recover in the aviation sector. We want the airport to be busy again with more routes. Let’s make it happen,” he stressed.

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