Jakarta (VNA) Air transport operators of Indonesia recently estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the aviation industry may linger on, even until 2022.

A senior expert at the Indonesia National Air Carriers Association (INACA) said Indonesian airlines are facing great pressure that may cause negative impact through 2021 and the country’s aviation sector won’t rebound to pre-COVID-19 levels until the first quarter of 2022.

In a recent report submitted to all airline members in the world, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shared the view that Indonesia’s aviation industry may have to wait until 2022 to gain as much revenue as in 2019.

Irfan Sebuahutra, President Director of flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia, said like other airlines, the company’s revenue dropped dramatically since the disease broke out, by almost 90 percent.

As many as 70 percent of the firm’s aircraft must lie idle in parking lots while the occupancy rate on the permitted flights must be kept at under 50 percent to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Garuda Indonesia decided to lay off 181 pilots from June 1, which has encountered objections from the Garuda Pilot Association (APG) which said the decision and news of layoffs were delivered suddenly, not in accordance with statutory provisions and employment contracts.

Meanwhile, Irfan Sebuahutra said the move was necessary to reduce the pressure caused by the pandemic and harmonise the supply and demand of aviation operations.

He noted the carrier will continues to fulfil its obligations relevant to the rights of pilots according to the signed contracts’ validity period./.