Monday, July 02, 2007

All Indonesian airlines banned by EU

EUAll 51 airlines registered in Indonesia -- including national flag carrier Garuda -- have been banned by the European Union (EU) from its airspace due to safety concerns. The ban, which was announced late last week, will go into effect on July 6, 2007.

A Reuters article about the EU ban quotes Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, Indonesian ambassador to the EU, who said Indonesian airlines were safe and he hoped the EU would rethink its decision at a meeting of air safety experts in October.
"It is our commitment and our determination to have safety in our civil aviation," he told Reuters. "We hope that the European Union can also give us the opportunity to improve."

But the EU official said Indonesian authorities initially ignored warnings of the ban and came to Brussels too late to avert it. "When they finally showed up, they even could not tell us how many planes their carriers operate."
Since no Indonesian carriers fly to Europe at present, so some may think that the newly announced ban has no meaning. Think again. Reuters points out some practical implications of the ban for European travelers:
Tourist agencies across the 27-nation EU will be obliged to inform customers that Indonesian airlines are on the blacklist if they continue to sell package tours involving their services on the Indonesian archipelago of over 17,000 islands.

Travelers who have already bought holidays involving the use of Indonesian carriers will be able to give them up and claim reimbursement, or expect travel agents to offer them an alternative, safe airline.
For its part, Indonesia has just signed an agreement with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), under which "Indonesia pledged to enact laws to support effective safety oversight, to ensure the required level of financial and human resources, and to correct shortcomings identified during internal and external audits," according to a Reuters article published today on
"Indonesia must act quickly and decisively to regain the confidence of the world aviation community and the traveling public," ICAO president Roberto Kobeh Gonzales told the conference on the resort island.

Gonzales said part of the problem stemmed from recent exponential growth of airlines and passengers in Indonesia.

"This has exerted tremendous financial, technical, legal and political pressure on your ability to keep pace with the demands of a rapidly expanding market," he said.
Transport safety in Indonesia has been in the spotlight this year, after a series of accidents -- most notably the loss of an Adam Air flight on New Year's Day, and the crash of a Garuda flight at Yogyakarta -- exposed systematic shortcomings in aviation safety practices.

Several months ago, The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a strongly worded statement regarding what the FAA saw as Indonesia's non-compliance with established air safety standards.