Indonesia AirAsia has been forced to halt its growth plan for this year, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and economic challenges faced by Indonesia.

The plan for 2020 was for the low-cost carrier to increase its market share by adding three new aircraft and launching new services, having recorded a 28% growth in revenue for 2019 as compared to 2018, says parent company AirAsia Indonesia.

The viral outbreak has led to travel restrictions imposed by neighbouring countries, and is affecting demand for domestic and international air travel. AirAsia Indonesia says that Indonesia’s “economic situation has become more challenging”, noting that the exchange rate for rupiah against the dollar is now at more than Rp16,000 ($0.97), and it continues to fluctuate.

“By considering these factors carefully and deeply, the company is forced to suspend international and domestic flights until the situation improves, and demand for air travel picks up. The measure will certainly have a significant influence on the company’s operating and financial performance in the first half of 2020,” says AirAsia Indonesia.

Indonesia AirAsia suspended operations on 1 April. Domestic flights are suspended until 21 April and international flights until 17 May.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Indonesia’s plan to resume trading on Indonesia Stock Exchange (BEI) by offering new shares to the public was also affected, although it did not offer any other details.

It was suspended from trading in August 2019 for not complying with BEI’s requirement for a company to have at least 7.5% of its paid-in capital available as free float in order to remain listed. As of 29 February, it only had 1.6% of shares available for trade.

AirAsia Indonesia’s priority for the group over the next six months is to reduce its operating cost base by renegotiating with suppliers and key stakeholders, and to ensure that it can continue to operate during this period, it says. This will then be followed by working to “restore” its finances after the outbreak is declared over.