RIAU declared a province-wide state of emergency starting Wednesday and asked for help from Jakarta to tackle raging forest fires amid a dry spell that saw pollutant levels reach record highs for this year.
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Airlines report losses caused by Riau haze
By The Jakarta Post, Asia News Network
Several airlines have said flight rerouting and cancellations caused by haze clouds in Riau has led them to suffer losses.
Lion Air's Sumatra operational head, Mahrido, said the low-cost carrier had to spend more on extra fuel and airport services for passengers as its flights were rerouted or delayed due to thick haze in the province.
"We have suffered significant financial losses due to the haze in Riau. The losses were primarily caused by more spending on fuel due to flight rerouting and extra services for passengers when they were waiting in airports," said Mahrido.
He said that since yesterday, Lion Air had rerouted and even cancelled flights departing for Pekanbaru, Riau, due to heavy haze.
On Tuesday, flights from Kuala Namu International Airport to Sibolga and from Kuala Namu to Gunung Sitoli in Nias were also cancelled due to the haze.
Meanwhile, a Lion flight from Jakarta to Pekanbaru was temporarily rerouted to Batam.
"Flights in Sumatra have been disrupted due to haze in Riau. But based on existing rules, our airline will not give any compensation as the weather has caused the cancellation," said Muhrido.
The head of the air safety task force at Hang Nadim Airport, Indah Irwansyah, said three flights from Jakarta to Pekanbaru - Garuda Indonesia, Citilink and Lion Air - had to be rerouted to Batam.
"We cannot ensure how long the rerouting will last, but as soon as conditions improve, flights can depart to Pekanbaru," said Irwansyah.
The rerouting decision was taken as the visibility level at Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport in Pekanbaru deteriorated to below 1,000 meters, below the minimum standard for safe flying.