Tuesday, April 17, 2007

FAA: Indonesia not in compliance with safety standards

FAAYesterday the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that "Indonesia does not comply with international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), following a consultation with the Indonesian civil aviation authority on March 6, 2007." This strongly worded statement came in a press release, which is now posted on the FAA website.

Through its International Aviation Safety Assessments (IASA) program, the FAA rates countries -- not individual carriers -- for compliance with international safety standards and practices for aircraft operations and maintenance, as established by the ICAO. The IASA program defines just two categories: Category 1, in compliance; and Category 2, not in compliance. The FAA has lowered Indonesia's rating from Category 1 to Category2.

In applying a Category 2 rating to a country, the FAA states that the country's civil aviation authority (CAA) has one or more of the following deficiencies:
  • the country lacks laws or regulations necessary to support the certification and oversight of air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards
  • the CAA lacks the technical expertise, resources, and organization to license or oversee air carrier operations
  • the CAA does not have adequately trained and qualified technical personnel
  • the CAA does not provide adequate inspector guidance to ensure enforcement of, and compliance with, minimum international standards
  • the CAA has insufficient documentation and records of certification and inadequate continuing oversight and surveillance of air carrier operations
In the present case, the FAA says the agency will remain engaged with Indonesia's civil aviation authority "and will periodically review the situation with the intention of encouraging improvements that will qualify Indonesia for a Category 1 rating."

One immediate result of this concern is reflected in the final paragraph of an article published today on the Voice of America website, which says that, "the U.S. embassy in Jakarta on Tuesday warned its citizens not to fly on Indonesian airlines, saying that recent air disasters raise questions about the safety practices of Indonesia air carriers."

Attention has been focused on air safety issues in Indonesia following a series of accidents and safety incidents involving aircraft operated by the country's national flag carrier Garuda, and privately owned Adam Air.