Indonesia's Lion Air to furlough 8,000 staff due to COVID travel restrictions

Cleaning workers, wearing protective suits, spray disinfectant inside the cabin of a Lion Air's Boeing 737-800, amid the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport near Jakarta, Indonesia, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan/Files

JAKARTA, July 31 (Reuters) - Indonesia's biggest budget airline operator Lion Air Group announced plans on Saturday to furlough around 8,000 employees as travel businesses suffer disruption due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Lion Air Group will furlough between 25% and 35% of its 23,000 employees, it said in a statement, after having to reduce its flight operations due to pandemic-related travel restrictions. The group operates Lion Air, Wings Air and Batik Air.

The decision was taken to "maintain the business and company's sustainability, streamline company operations, reduce costs and restructure the organization amid aviation operational conditions that have yet to return to normal from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement said.

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Lion Air Group's operation have been reduced to 10%-15% of its normal capacity of 1,400 flights per day, it said.

Indonesia suffered one of the worst coronavirus outbreak in Asia, with more than 3.4 million infections and over 94,000 deaths.

Tight restrictions in Java, Bali and several other regions were imposed at the start of July after new cases surged due to the spread of the Delta variant.

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Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe; Writing by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Mike Harrison

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