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Travel Agents and Airlines in Indonesia Go Through Turbulence from Pandemic

June 30, 2020, 08.41 PM

JAKARTA, – Travel agents and airlines in Indonesia have suffered a massive blow from the coronavirus pandemic as social restrictions put limitations on traveling.

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.”

Read also: Airlines and Hotels in Indonesia Need 2 Years to Recover Post Pandemic

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.

Read also: Indonesia in the Time of Covid-19: Have Health Certificate, Will Travel

IATA has additionally admitted that airlines are having difficulties fulfilling ticket refunds as it faces financial difficulties.

As such, airlines are unable to refund the money back to travel agents and consumers.

The hope is that travel agents and passengers will be more patient until conditions improve r when domestic flights are reopened.

Garuda Indonesia’s Director of Commerce and Cargo Mochamad R Pahlevi shared his optimism that domestic flights will once be allowed hence boosting the national airline carrier’s income.

Read also: Survey: Indonesians Ready to Travel during New Normal

Mochamad did reveal that domestic flights are not yet allowed to start operations and that the flight will not be able to make up for the profit loss.

He also mentioned how travel agents and airlines in Indonesia must sit together to find a solution to refund-related issues.

Lion Air Senior Sales Manager Mochamad Helmi concurred the suggestions made by Garuda Indonesia’s Mochamad Pahlevi.

Lion Air is anticipating the reopening of domestic flights for the Lion Air Group.

The airline company has also communicated with travel agents and consumers regarding ticket refund issues.

“We have informed all of our representatives to assist with the refund process for our partners across Indonesia,” said Lion Air’s Mochamad. 

(Writer: Nicholas Ryan Aditya | Editor: Ni Luh Made Pertiwi F.) 


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