A Boeing 737-900ER Thai Lion Air aircraft is parked at Don Muang International Airport in Bangkok. (Shutterstock/vinai chunkhajorn)

Lion Air offers discounts to rev up business amid virus fears


Indonesia’s largest low-cost carrier, Lion Air, is offering discounts for flights to and from three destinations across the country as the aviation business is weighed down by the coronavirus outbreak widely believed to have originated from Wuhan, China.

The airline will offer discounts of up to 60 percent for flights to and from Batam, Riau Islands; Manado, North Sulawesi, and Denpasar, Bali, following a meeting with government officials on the matter. The three destinations are among the favorite destinations of Chinese tourists, who for years have been the main group of foreign visitors to Indonesia.

Lion Air Group spokesperson Danang Mandala Prihantoro said the company offered discounts of up to 50 percent for flights from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, to Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado.

Meanwhile, tickets from Soekarno-Hatta airport to I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar are up to 60 percent cheaper, as are flights from Jakarta to Hang Nadim International Airport in Batam.

“Lion Air is offering the lowest prices for flights to the three destination,” Danang said on Thursday, as quoted by, adding that promotional discounts had also been applied to flights to other destinations.

Danang went on to say that the airline operator had taken the measure because it was entering the low season with fewer travellers. Lion Air hoped the promotion would encourage people to travel by air.

Aside from the low season, the spokesperson said, there had been calls to lower domestic airfares in response to the virus outbreak.

The government has urged airlines to entice domestic tourists with special discounts for flights to top tourist destination as part of the country’s strategy to cope with declining foreign tourist arrivals amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said the declining number of Chinese tourists had been discussed with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo after the government enforced a travel ban on Chinese tourists.

The government has imposed a travel ban to and from mainland China in a bid to prevent the 2019-nCoV virus from entering the country, despite its potential effect on tourism in Indonesia.

Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio said the travel ban would be a big challenge for the country as the number of Chinese tourists was quite large.

Chinese tourists accounted for 12 percent of the 16.1 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2019, or some 2 million visits that year. (ydp)