The discount (for flight tickets) was planned to be offered from March 1, but travel operators would require a legal basis for this. Hence, we have to wait for the regulation on this
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government will go ahead with its plan to offer a nearly 50-percent discount in flight tickets to 10 destinations despite first coronavirus cases confirmed in the country, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi stated.

"The plan is ready to be implemented, but no time frame had yet been set. It is confirmed, and there is no need for further evaluation. We will evaluate this after three months," Sumadi stated at the Presidential Palace complex here on Tuesday.

Earlier, on Monday, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had announced that two residents of Depok in West Java Province had tested positive for COVID-19, or coronavirus, and had been kept under isolation at the infectious disease Hospital of Sulianti Suroso since March 1.

Last week, the government had offered discount in airfare prices to revamp the tourism sector impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

"The discount (for flight tickets) was planned to be offered from March 1, but travel operators would require a legal basis for this. Hence, we have to wait for the regulation on this," the minister explained.

Sumadi also hinted at a possibility of imposition of flight restriction from and to certain countries after the government had earlier temporarily halted all flights to China.

"Restriction may perhaps be imposed on four countries of South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Iran," he elaborated, adding that he will further deliberate on the issue with Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto.

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The government has offered a 45-50 percent reduction in the prices of flight tickets to 10 destination regions. A 45-percent discount would be offered for full service airlines, 48-percent discount for medium-class airlines, and 50-percent discount for low-cost carriers.

The discount would be available for 25 percent of the seats in each flight for a period of three months, from March 1 to May 31.

The 10 destinations are Batam, Denpasar, Yogyakarta, Labuan Bajo, Lombok, Malang, Manado, Silangit-Danau Toba, Tanjung Pandang, and Tanjung Pinang.

As many as 430 thousand tickets are expected to be sold at discount price.

The government has allocated some Rp500 billion to reduce ticket fares on domestic flights by 30 percent, while three state-owned enterprises -- oil and gas company Pertamina and airport operators Angkasa Pura and Airnav -- will contribute 20 percent for the discount.

Up until Tuesday, 90,427 people worldwide have contracted coronavirus of which 3,116 died while 47,928 others were cured.

China has recorded the highest number of cases, at 80,143, followed by South Korea, with 4,335 cases; Italy, 2,036 cases; and Iran, 1,501 cases.

Iran recorded the highest mortality rate outside China, with 66 deaths. As many as 65 countries, including Indonesia, has confirmed COVID-19 case. Related news: Minister prepared to apportion additional budget for handling COVID-19

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Translator: Desca Lidya N, Sri Haryati
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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