Indonesia’s Lion Air to furlough around 8,000 employees as pandemic crisis deepens

Updated: Aug 25, 2021

Indonesia’s biggest low-cost carrier, Lion Air, will furlough as many as 8,000 employees, or around 25%-35% of its 23,000 workforce, due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.



This was confirmed by Lion Air’s corporate communications strategist, Danang Mandala Prihantoro, in a written statement released on July 31. Prihantoro stated that this decision was taken, “with the aim to maintain business sustainability and streamlining operations of the company, reduce costs, and restructure the organization amid the condition of the aviation industry that has yet to return to normal, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic”.


He also added that financial assistance and virtual training would be provided to the furloughed staff.


Prihantoro also revealed that Lion Air’s operations had reduced by as much as 15% since the start of the pandemic, from its usual capacity of 1,400 flights daily. However, it did see an increase in operations during the biggest Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr in May 2021. It was reported that around 86,000 Indonesians traveled by air at that time.


Lion Air has also become known for providing discounts of as much as 50% for the mandatory PCR swab test that allows passengers to travel domestically. It had also cut its airfare by 25% to boost sales.


This is not the first local airline to be severely impacted by the pandemic. Two days after Lion Air’s announcement, Indonesia’s national airline, Garuda Indonesia confirmed a US$384.35 million loss in the first quarter of this year.


Indonesia has been one of the worst-affected Southeast Asia countries by the pandemic, with over 3.4 million infections and more than 94,000 deaths. As the country’s travel and tourism industry further sinks, tighter travel restrictions were recently imposed due to the spread of the Delta variant across the country.

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