Country Manager of Indonesia from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Rita Rompas confirmed the trend during a webinar event with the Association of Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies June 28.
“Travel agency business collapsed and so did airlines. The refunds that will be inputted in the billing and settlement plan total around $60 billion up to June. This is serious.”
The sheer amount of refund is the first major challenge for travel agents and airlines in Indonesia during the coronavirus pandemic.
Another challenge amid the spread of the Covid-19 virus is the change in booking trends.
“If we look at the current trend, we can only see flight bookings three days before departure. Compared to previous years, flight bookings can be made during a Travel Fair event where people take advantage of cheap tickets for domestic and international flights during the peak season period,” said Rita.
This shift has been disadvantageous for the airline industry as it has made it more difficult to predict sales and profit for the year.
Restrictions on movement and travel have also exacerbated the difficulties for airlines in Indonesia.