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Airports add more testing sites, drive-throughs to remedy long lines

Jakarta Post - December 25, 2020

Jakarta – State-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I (AP I) is encouraging travelers to take a COVID-19 test one day prior to departure to avoid long lines at airport testing centers.

The operator has added more testing locations, has set up drive-through testing at certain airports and has deployed more officers during the Christmas and New Year travel surge.

"This aims to prevent long lines in the rapid antigen test service area and at checkpoints for required documents for air travel in the airports," AP 1 corporate secretary Handy Heryudhitiawan said in a statement, tempo.co reported on Friday.

Travelers are also required to submit an electronic health alert card (e-HAC) through a mobile application prior to departure to avoid long queues at the destination airports' validation checkpoints.

The operator said it had improved the quality of its testing services by establishing a clear flow for payment and testing and by providing proper waiting rooms for travelers. "These arrangements are evaluated on a daily basis," said Handy.

The operator has provided more chairs and mineral water in the waiting rooms and has coordinated with airlines to open counters for refunds and rescheduling, which require antigen test results.

"For big airports such as Juanda in Surabaya, I Gusti Ngurah Rai in Bali and Sultan Hasanuddin in Makassar, we are still working on establishing drive-through areas for the antigen test service in order to address the long lines," he added.

According to government data, 661,421 people traveled by air between Dec. 18 and Dec. 24 of this year, down 60 percent from the 1.6 million travelers in the same period last year.

The number of flights over the same period declined by 34 percent to 8,271 from 12,543 last year. Nevertheless, cargo shipping increased by 7.89 percent to 8.8 million kilograms this year.

On Wednesday, another state-owned airport operator, Angkasa Pura II (AP II), urged passengers to take COVID-19 tests before arriving at airports for a smooth journey.

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport executive general manager Agus Haryadi said test results would be checked by the Health Ministry's Port Health Authority and by airline check-in staff.

"We request that passengers bring their test results to the airport," he said, saying that travelers who had taken COVID-19 tests could arrive at the airport two hours before departure. Those who planned to take the test at the airport, he said, should arrive four hours before departure.

The year-end holiday season lasts from Dec. 19 to Jan. 8, 2021. (nkn)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/12/25/airports-add-more-testing-sites-drive-throughs-to-remedy-long-lines.htm