Indonesian flag carrier to halve fleet amid pressure of COVID-19 hinh anh 1Aircraft of Indonesia’s national flag carrier Garuda in Tangerang (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesia’s national flag carrier Garuda is planning to halve its fleet of 142 aircraft as it faces huge pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a debt of 70 trillion IDR (4.9 billion USD).

The airline needs to completely restructure its business, potentially reducing the number of planes it operates, President Director Irfan Setiaputra said in an address to staff.

Bloomberg quoted Setiaputra as saying that Garuda’s debt increases by more than 1 trillion IDR each month as it continues to delay payments to suppliers.

The carrier is projected to earn only 56 million USD in revenue this month. Meanwhile, it has to pay the same amount for aircraft lease rentals, 20 million USD each for maintenance, fuel purchases and wages.

Setiaputra warned that Garuda may halt its business operations if restructuring is not successful.

At present, the airline only operates 41 aircraft of its fleet, except for that of its low-cost brand Citilink.

It offered early retirement programmes to its employees as an effort to survive and restore the airline's performance.

Garuda has a total 15,368 employees, while its number of flights plunged 66 percent since last year./.