With domestic tourism slowly taking off and domestic flights are once again in demand, policy makers say they have reason to worry that some airlines are not entirely compliant with health protocols.
In a meeting with the Transportation Ministry yesterday, House of Representatives (DPR) Commission V, which oversees transportation matters, told the government that they have received numerous reports of airlines ignoring health protocols.
"The protocols that were drawn up are good, but we must pay attention to their enforcement. Some of us flew Batik Air from Jakarta to Makassar. The number of passengers should've been capped at 70 percent, but that flight was full. There was no enforcement of physical distancing whatsoever," Commision V member Athari Gauhti Ardi of the National Mandate Party (PAN) said during the meeting.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi promised to issue a warning to Batik Air and other airlines caught violating health protocols.
"Sometimes, amid COVID-19, people make mistakes," he said. "But these mistakes are being made repeatedly, so we will warn them."
Lion Air Group, which owns and operates Batik Air, acknowledged that some of its flights may have exceeded the government's 70 percent passenger cap.
However, it said that the passenger cap is theoretically unnecessary as passengers and crew go through stringent health checks before flying and that airplanes are equipped with an air filtration system that practically eliminates the threat of coronavirus infection on board.
"Other countries that have resumed domestic and international flights do not limit the number of passengers," Lion Air Group spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantoro said today.