US warns against Indonesian airlines


The US has warned its citizens not to fly on Indonesian airlines where possible, due to recent accidents and an operating level under what the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) declares safe. Here’s more from the Jakarta Post.

U.S. warns against flying on Indonesian airlines

JAKARTA (AP): The United States warned its citizens Tuesday against flying on Indonesian airlines following a string of accidents, saying the country’s civil aviation authority did not meet minimum international safety standards.

An Indonesian jetliner plunged into the sea from 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) on New Year’s Day, killing all 102 people on board. Weeks later, another plane’s fuselage split in half after a hard landing. And last month, a Boeing 737 careened off a runway and burst into flames, leaving 21 dead.

The Indonesian government has since carried out a review of its 20 carriers, concluding that none met all safety requirements.

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“Whenever possible, Americans traveling to and from Indonesia should fly directly to their destinations on international carriers,” the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta said in a statement on its Web site.

It noted that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration lowered its aviation safety rating for Indonesia from Category 1 to 2 – the lowest – on Monday “due to serious concerns” about safety oversight and operational control systems.

Dozens of airlines emerged after Indonesia deregulated its aviation industry in the 1990s, raising concerns that growth has outpaced the supply of trained aviation professionals, regulatory oversight and ground infrastructure.

It’s easy to criticize and one feels sorry for Indonesia a bit. A developing country struggling with poverty, corruption, all kinds of local tensions and poor infrastructure. The thing is, where foreigners might be willing to accept lower standards of service in a restaurant or shop, with an airline that can mean disaster. What happened in Indonesia has happened in many countries including the US. When budget airlines came on the scene, using third-hand planes, second rate pilots and average maintenance, accidents happened. I myself had the privelage of flying Ryanair from Berlin to London last summer. The pilot almost dropped the plane through the runway on landing.

So here in Indonesia how is it flying? In short I’d still say I favour Garuda when I have the choice and Mandala, as they are connected to the airforce, so hopefully have somebody who understands planes. Another thing to consider is the fact Indonesia gets more thunder storms than any other country, given its size and location, straddling the equator. Any way you travel in this country is somewhat risky. Don’t let that thought stop you coming.