Low-budget air carrier AirAsia Indonesia announced last Friday (29 May) that it will be serving domestic and international flights starting from 8 June after several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
AirAsia Indonesia said that relevant passengers have received information via registered emails and short messaging service (SMS) regarding “service recovery options” in the event that their flight is cancelled.
The carrier also advised passengers to check their departure terminal in advance, as some airports may have relocated terminals designated for domestic or international flights.
AirAsia Indonesia also called upon all future passengers to understand and strictly adhere to regulations and requirements set by the respective governments and authorities — both of the country or region of origin as well as those of the destination, regarding health, immigration and travel restrictions.
Uncertain situations due to the outbreak
On 1 April, AirAsia Indonesia halted all domestic and international flights until 21 April and 17 May respectively.
However, the spread of the disease and the enforcement of large-scale social restriction (PSBB) have forced the airline to extend its travel ban.
Previously, the company announced it would resume flights gradually on 1 June 2020.
In early May, AirAsia focused on serving cargo flights, modifying its business during the pandemic that has infected nearly six million people globally.
New normal regulations in the airline industry
The pandemic has forced airlines to suspend flights as countries implement travel restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the virus.
Presently, however, the airline industry is preparing to roll out “new normal” rules as several airlines will be ready to carry passengers again after a nearly two-month hiatus.
Temperature-checking, maintaining physical distance on passengers’ seats, mask-wearing, the requirement of health certificates, online bookings as well as digital payments are among the possible changes seen in the sector.
However, there should a synchronised effort from the central government and regional administrations in formulating new standard procedures.
Aviation expert Mr Alvin Lie told Bisnis that the implementation of the “new normal” in the airline sector is still uncertain due to some changes in domestic flights’ rules and standards.
For example, the Ministry of Transportation Regulation No.18/2020 stipulates that the numbers of passengers allowed should be 50 per cent of the aircraft’s capacity.
However, such a procedure is still being debated between airline companies and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The Indonesia National Air Carriers Association (INACA) chose not to speculate about the “new normal” rules prepared by the Ministry of Transportation.
“We better wait for the policy after it is released to avoid misperception,” INACA Head Mr. Denon Prawiraatmaja told Bisnis on 28 May.