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Airlines Claim PCR Tests Not Mandatory Depending on Destination City

International Flights Unaffected by Mudik Travel Bans

Most airlines have stated that passengers can use either the rapid test or the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab test when intending to travel by air.

Lion Air’s Strategic Corporate Communications Head, Danang Mandala Prihantoro, said the two tests are different. The difference refers to Circular Letter (SE) Number 5 of 2020 concerning the amendment to SE Number 4 of 2020 about the criteria for restrictions on internal travel in the context of handling COVID-19. In the note, it says that PCR tests are valid for seven days, while rapid tests are only valid for three days.

“Passengers are required to ensure the documentation that they provide is in accordance with local city’s regulations because there are some local governments that require passengers to do a PCR test,” Danang said.

He also noted that the cities requiring passengers to have completed a PCR test as part of their documentation such as Jabodetabek, Bali, Balikpapan, Pangkalpinang, Padang, and Tanjung Pandan. This means that passengers travelling to these cities are required to take a PCR test if they want to be able to successfully board their flight.

Earlier, BPTJ Infrastructure Director Edi Nursalam said that starting on 26th May 2020, passengers have been required to show PCR results and Jabodetabek SIKM (statement letter of working) permits. “Then, airports required only a health certificate but now, it must be with a PCR test,” he said.

Separately, as of Wednesday 3rd June, the government of the city of Balikpapan, East Kalimantan now requires travellers to show a negative result for COVID-19 through a PCR test. The regulation applies to travellers who don’t have an East Kalimantan KTP (ID card). Balikpapan’s mayor Rizal Effendi said the policy will cover the period 3-30th June 2020.

The decision was announced in Point 3C Circular Number 551.43/0284/Dishub regarding passenger control or arrival at the entrance of the city of Balikpapan during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

Similarly, Garuda Indonesia President Director Irfan Sebuahutra said that Garuda passengers were required to take PCR tests for certain destination cities in accordance with the provisions of the destination cities. For destinations that don’t require PCR testing, letters stating the person is free of COVID-19 can be accompanied with rapid test results.

“We follow the rules. To land at Cengkareng (Soekarno-Hatta Airport), we follow the rules of the task force,”

he said. Previously, Irfan had complained about the high costs and conditions for boarding a plane compared to the ticket price. The PCR test is priced at Rp2.5 million which is even more expensive than a plane ticket.

He suggested that the expensive process would affect people’s decision to buy a plane ticket. In other words, the air transportation industry will find it difficult to bounce back after the coronavirus pandemic.

For this reason, he suggested that the process be simplified and the PCR costs should be cheaper. If the prices don’t fall, the industry’s performance has the potential to plummet. “Going forward, the aviation industry will face a drastic decline in terms of passengers,” he said.

Source: CNN Indonesia

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