Hundreds of passengers were stranded overnight at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport as five flights of low-cost carrier Lion Air were delayed due to operational issues for more than 12 hours on Sunday evening (31/07). (B1 Photo/Danung Arifin)

Lion Air Temporarily Shuts Down Domestic and International Flights After Immigration Debacle


MAY 20, 2016

Jakarta. Budget airline Lion Air has temporarily shut down 93 domestic and two international flights following harsh sanctions imposed by the Transportation Ministry for an immigration debacle at the Soekarno Hatta Airport last week—when international passengers were taken by Lion Air ground-handlers to the domestic instead of the international arrivals terminal—a ministry official said on Thursday (19/05).

The ministry’s air transportation director Maryati Karma said Lion Air has temporarily shut down 217 flights on 93 domestic routes and 10 flights on two international routes since the sanctions were imposed.

The self-imposed shutdown will be effective from May 18 to June 18.

The ministry handed a five-day suspension to all of Lion Air’s ground handling operators last week. Earlier this month, the ministry also banned the controversial airline from launching new domestic routes in the next five months after a pilot strike.

Lion Air’s ground handling staff reportedly took 182 passengers arriving on a flight from Singapore on May 10 to Soekarno-Hatta airport's domestic arrivals terminal instead of its international arrivals terminal, bypassing immigration checkpoints in the process.

Maryati said Lion Air is still responsible for refunding tickets or offering alternative flights for passengers who have booked seats in the cancelled flights by June 18 at the latest.

“If they don’t meet the deadline, we will revoke the permits on those routes permanently,” Maryati said during a press briefing in Jakarta.

Edward Sirait, President Director of Lion Air, confirmed the temporary flight shutdown, saying it will apply on busy routes for the airline, including Jakarta-Makassar, Jakarta-Kualanamu, Jakarta-Singapore and Kualanamu-Penang.

“The shutdown is not caused by the sanctions, but because of the low season ahead of Ramadan [in June],” Edward said as reported by Antara news agency.