Garuda Indonesia drops Japan-Bali flight over omicron

Nikkei -- Dec 02
Garuda Indonesia, the country's flagship air carrier, has canceled planned flights connecting Tokyo and Bali due to concerns over the omicron COVID variant, dealing a further blow to the tourism-dependent island.

Garuda had planned a weekly flight between Japan's Haneda Airport to Jakarta with a stop off in Bali from Dec. 5 through the end of the month in what would have been the first direct international flight to the island since it reopened to tourists mid-October.

But "because of the tightening of immigration restrictions by both Indonesian and Japanese governments due to the omicron strain," the flights to Bali have been canceled, Garuda said on its Japanese website on Wednesday.

Speaking to Nikkei Asia, a Garuda executive also blamed uncertainties over demand, following many cancellations on the Japanese side as travelers feared being caught out by Japan's tighter border controls.

As a response to the spread of omicron in other parts of the world, Japan has banned most foreigners from entering the country and has extended the quarantine period for its own residents to 14 days. And the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has asked domestic and foreign airlines to suspend new bookings for all international flights arriving in Japan.