January 21, 2015
Indonesia proposes rule changes after AirAsia crash
In a move that is doubtless intended to show international air safety bodies that Indonesia has woken up to the fact they have been lax in their air safety policies, Indonesia’s Minister of Transport, Ignasius Jonan, has announced that a number of new safety rules have been put in place since the crash of AirAsia’s Airbus A320 over three weeks ago. These new rules relate both to flight permits as well as checks on the health and wellbeing of both air crew and flight controllers. Mr Jonas also stated: “It is a habit among airlines that they sometimes sell tickets before they have obtained a route permit,” adding, “Now route permits must be obtained 4 months before the flight and airlines will not be allowed to sell tickets before that.”
At the time of the crash it was known that AirAsia did not have a permit for the flight between Surabaya and Singapore, and the results of subsequent investigations have been revealed by Ignasius Jonan indicating that six specific airlines under the Department of Transport’s jurisdiction, had “committed violations” relating to their permits to fly specific routes. These airlines included Garuda Indonesia, Susi Air, Lion Air, TransNusa, Indonesia AirAsia and Wings Air (a subsidiary of Lion Air). Lion Air was by far the biggest culprit with 35 route violations plus 18 violations via its Wings Air offshoot.
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has requested an immediate overhaul of the Indonesian aviation sector. It is without doubt one of the fastest-growing in the region but has been susceptible to airlines with less than perfect safety records. Safety will have to be improved as the industry expands to cater to the increasing demand from a burgeoning middle class. In addition to safety, the welfare of workers is also being closely examined, with pay increases are being offered to a number of employees, including maintenance and safety inspection officials.