December 16, 2020, 02.44 AM

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – State-owned carrier Garuda Indonesia is starting to rebound towards the end of 2020 after the airline’s vital passenger and cargo services were hit hard for much of the year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Garuda Indonesia has transported more than 1.5 million passengers on the third quarter of the 2020 fiscal year,” said Garuda Indonesia President Director Irfan Setiaputra on Tuesday, December 15.

“This is a three-fold increase from the 500,000 passengers who boarded our flights in the second quarter of this year.” He added that the amount of cargo hauled by Garuda correspondingly increased with passenger numbers.

Also read: Garuda Indonesia Launches New Papua Routes to Boost Tourism in Region

“Garuda hauled 50,500 tons of cargo [in the third quarter], up from 41,300 tons in the second quarter. We are heartened to note that cargo numbers are approximating the same period in 2019, though the number of passengers are still a far cry from last year.”

Irfan hopes that Garuda Indonesia’s business levels will improve in 2021.

“If we can maintain the same levels of growth per quarter, it might carry into the first quarter of 2021 or even until the end of next year,” he noted. “Since we have been targeting our business to pre Covid-19 levels, that is a good start.”

Also read: Garuda Indonesia Opens International Routes from Jakarta for December Holidays

Irfan added that Garuda is negotiating with Saudi Arabia to resume flying Indonesian Muslim pilgrims heading to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina for the Hajj major pilgrimage as well as the umrah minor pilgrimage.

“[Garuda] is aiming for this goal, even though Saudi Airlines have sole rights to transport the pilgrims. We did fly to Saudi Arabia during the Covid-19 pandemic, but only to repatriate Indonesian nationals stranded in the country because of the coronavirus.”

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