Garuda clarifies it will use face masks and shields for cabin crew despite complaints

 

Indonesian national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has revealed that its cabin crew will be complementing face masks with face shields to ensure safety. This comes following recent news article that said the airline received multiple complaints from passengers saying they did not know if the cabin crew were smiling or frowning as the masks cover most of their faces.

However, in a press release, the airline said the plan to use face shields by Garuda Indonesia's cabin crew is a complement and an additional personal protective equipment for cabin crew and “does not replace the masks that currently used by our cabin crew”.

According to president and CEO Garuda Indonesia, Irfan Setiaputra, the airline continually evaluates the use of personal protective equipment for the cabin crew that is most appropriate and safe to use during flights, which refers to the applicable regulations and safety standard while still providing comfort and ease of interaction with passengers.

“We continue to improve our services and facilities in all operational aspects, which one of them is the use of personal protective equipment for the cabin crew in accordance to the government’s regulations and safety standard, for instance, masks, hand gloves. We currently prepare face shields as additional protective equipment for cabin crew and the use of disposable apron during serving in-flight meals, as an effort to provide security and comfort for passengers during flights in line with the health protocol,” he added.

Entering the new normal era, Garuda Indonesia explained that it continues to move adaptively to optimise service quality and consistently implement health protocols to maintain  passengers trust in planning trips using air transportation services.

Earlier this month, Garuda Indonesia reportedly laid off 181 pilots as part of its cost-cutting measures, according to CNN Indonesia. The chairperson of the Garuda Pilots Association (APG) Capt. Bintang Muzaini, said those impacted include senior pilots with vast flight experience and was not limited to new or junior pilots. In the article, Muzaini also explained that the management at Garuda Indonesia informed the pilots last Friday (29 May) that they will have to depart from the company as of 1 June, giving them only three days.

Retrenching the pilots comes as the second wave of layoff announcements for Garuda Indonesia. In April 2020, the airline said it will be slashing employee salaries between 10 to 50% until June 2020 as part of its cost-cutting measures due to the COVID-19 impact on travel. According to The Jakarta Post, the airline “struggled to stay afloat” and had to take on such a move to maintain business sustainability.

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