Riza Roidila Mufti, Jakarta – State airport operator Angkasa Pura (AP) II is applying new policies at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, after images of passengers crowding the airport went viral.
The policies include dividing passenger lines into four sections, separating the document verification and health check process, as well as limiting flights to only seven per hour.
AP II is set to enforce the new rules, aimed at supporting physical distancing measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, in the airport's Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 starting on Friday.
"We have carried out an evaluation and subsequently implemented the new policy. Today, on May 15, the departure process for domestic routes is going well at Soekarno-Hatta, both in Terminal 2 and 3," said AP II president director Muhammad Awaluddin in a statement released on Friday.
The new system is expected to prevent the congestion of passengers at the airport. The first section of the passenger line will be designated for document verification, while the second section is for passengers filling in forms such as the Health Alert Card (HAC).
Meanwhile, airport health office personnel will assess the passengers' health in the third section of the line, while the last post is for passengers passing the inspection to proceed to check-in counters.
Images of crowding passengers in the country's biggest airport circulated on Thursday, apparently caused by an influx of passengers coming for morning flights. Thirteen departures were scheduled between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., according to AP II communications manager Febri Toga Simatupang.
The passengers were lining up to get all their flight documents checked as additional requirements, such as a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, rapid test results or health documents from a hospital or clinic, as well as a return ticket, are needed to fly during the COVID-19 mitigation period.
"With the new system, this morning's passenger flow was seamless for the domestic departure process at Terminal 2," Awaluddin said, adding that a similar procedure was also being applied at Terminal 3, with some adjustments.
Meanwhile, the airport will also limit hourly flights to up to seven flights to avoid passenger crowding. On Friday, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport will only serve a total of 54 departures and 56 arrivals.
The country's airport served up to 1,200 flights daily on normal days before the pandemic.
The airport's stakeholders have also agreed to cap the aircraft capacity for each flight to 50 percent to further ease the departure process while supporting physical distancing efforts, the operator stated.