In a major change in the fight against the rising COVID-19 cases, Indonesia's government has suspended all inbound and outbound flights.

The Indonesian transport ministry issued the ban for domestic/international and charter flights, coming two days after Indonesia's president Jokwi Widodo announced an outright mudik ban during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and Idul Fitri holiday.

The Indonesian flight ban will be in effect between Friday, April 25 until June 1, after previously being applied to flights and other modes of travel entering or leaving areas considered pandemic red zones.

Exempted from the ban are repatriation flights for Indonesian citizens returning to the country along with those for foreigners, cargo/logistics operations, and official flights including those carrying law enforcement officials and emergency services. The transport ministry will also issue permits for authorized flights, the ban may be extended if necessary.

With the short notice, the ministry said it would allow airlines to honor old flight reservations until April 24.

"Airlines are given opportunities until today to fly passengers who have already bought tickets as long as they implement the Covid-19 health protocols. There won't be any more exceptions after today," ministry spokeswoman Adita Irawati said in a statement on Friday.

In response to the short notice, the head of the Indonesia National Air Carriers Association (INACA) Secretary-General Bayu Sutanto was quoted on The Online Citizen stating: “The most critical thing is about how to explain to passengers who had reserved tickets before 24 April. Let’s say they had been on duty before the ban came. Should they come home after 1 June?”

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