Grounded Garuda Indonesia planes at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

Garuda Indonesia Cuts Salaries as Pandemic Grounds Fleet

BY :THRESA SANDRA DESFIKA, MARKUS JUNIANTO SIHALOHO

APRIL 29, 2020

Jakarta. Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has grounded the majority of its fleet as part of the large-scale social restriction to contain the Covid-19 pandemic

In a teleconference with the House of Representatives' Commission VI on Wednesday, Garuda president director Irfan Setiaputra said he expected the number of air travels would continue to drop in May, right through the normally busy Idul Fitri holiday at the end of the month.

To reduce losses, Garuda and its staff have agreed on salary postponement and cuts for at least 25,000 workers.

"We will have salary cuts and payment delays at all levels. Annual incentives and benefits will suffer cuts as well. But we will still pay holiday bonuses [THR] even though the State-Owned Enterprises Minister has ordered a stop to bonus payments for directors and commissioners," Irfan said.

According to Irfan, the decision by Saudi Arabia to suspend umrah, the minor pilgrimage to Mecca, has hurt the airline the most.

Garuda even had to send empty planes to Mecca to pick up Indonesian Muslims who had already completed their umrah.

"We had to send ten empty flights [to Mecca] to pick up the umrah pilgrims," he said.

Currently, Garuda operates only 26 domestic and international cargo planes regularly.

The airline continues to fly to the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea and Australia because the mudik ban does not apply on international flights during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan and the Idul Fitri holiday.

Irfan said the international flights are closely monitored so they always comply with pandemic restrictions in different countries. 

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