Indonesia’s largest airline Lion Air has suspended all flights after passengers failed to comply with the government’s strict Covid-19 controls.
Lion Air and subsidiaries Batik Air and regional carrier Wings Air only resumed flying just five days ago, the news has sent shockwaves through the airline industry.
Lion Air Group said: “Many prospective passengers were unable to carry out air travel because they did not complete the required documents and conditions during the coronavirus pandemic alert period.”
Flights have been suspended “until further notice”. Announcing the decision, Lion Air cited concern for employees’ health. A spokesman said: “Many passengers could not show the required documents.”
The Indonesian transport ministry has restricted flying to essential travel and It requires passengers to show documents stating they are free of Covid-19 infection, travellers must also show either a letter from an employer or a document proving a family emergency.
The group said: “Lion Air Group supports government-related prevention efforts through active participation in implementing the health protocols established by the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Health and Task Force.”
The group’s carriers had taken safety measures including blocking middle seats, deep-cleaning aircraft between flights, and replacing air filters on aircraft where a passenger was suspected of illness.