President Director of PT Angkasa Pura I (Persero) Faik Fahmi has speculated that airlines will begin to enter Bali with regularly scheduled flights in January 2022.
He said the company had not received any notification of plans for foreign airlines to enter Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali, in the near future. This is despite Bali having been open to foreign tourists since 14th October 2021.
Faik said that airlines need time to prepare their flight plans to Indonesia, especially for scheduled or regular routes.
“There are several airlines, but they have not declared details because they are not final. For regular arrivals, it will probably only be available in January 2022,” said Faik.
Previously, Indonesia closed its doors to scheduled and chartered international flights for tourism purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures mirrored the actions of countries around the world in an attempt to suppress the spread of the virus.
Faik said that since the government announced plans to reopen international borders for tourism, various foreign airlines had begun preparing their flight schedules. These schedules have not been direct scheduled flights, and airlines that will enter Indonesia via Bali will start with charter flights.
“(Foreign) airlines will enter as early as December, but before bringing in regular flights, those that will enter are charter flights first,” said Faik.
In addition to preparing the schedule, said Faik, foreign airlines are considering various things to open flights back to Indonesia. One of them is the quarantine policy.
Currently, airline passengers from abroad must undergo quarantine for three days after landing in the country. The quarantine policy is suspected to have reduced the interest of foreign tourists entering Indonesia because in other countries quarantine policies have begun to be abolished.
“Tourists compare Bali with other destinations. Others don’t need quarantine, we need quarantine. This is the airline’s consideration,” he said.
Interest in reopening routes to Bali has been subdued due to the current restrictions and quarantine rules. So far, the Indonesian government is only allowing tourism from 19 specified countries.
“Several countries have wanted to operate direct flights, but they are outside the list of 19 countries,” said Faik.