Jakarta – Soekarno-Hatta International Airport has recorded an influx of air passengers and airport visitors as airlines have resumed operations under eased restrictions in the transition to the "new normal" policy.
Airport spokesperson Febri Simatupang said tens of thousands of passengers had packed the country's main aviation hub in Tangerang, Banten, following the gradual lifting of physical restrictions starting in mid-June.
"As we know, the number of passengers at Soekarno-Hatta during the mudik travel ban varied between 5,000 and 6,000 [per day]," Febri told kompas.com on Wednesday, referring to the tradition of people returning to their hometowns for Idul Fitri.
"During the [transitional period], that figure has shot up to between 17,000 and 20,000 [per day]," he said.
He added that the majority of airlines – including all airlines under the Garuda Indonesia Group and the Lion Air Group – had resumed commercial flights in compliance with the latest health protocols to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission among passengers.
Despite the notable increase in passenger numbers, the figures still pale in comparison to pre-pandemic figures at 9.4 percent to 10 percent of regular passenger traffic.
"It's still far from normal. The number of passengers at Soekarno-Hatta before the pandemic typically ranged from 150,000 to 180,000 per day," he said.
The airport's management took considerable flak ahead of the May 24-25 Idul Fitri holiday, when photos of thousands of passengers flocking to Terminal 2 despite the physical distancing rules circulated in the press and on social media.
According to the latest government policy on air travel, all passengers must produce a document showing a negative COVID-19 result for a rapid diagnostic test or the more accurate swab test using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method before they are permitted to fly. (rfa)