Indonesia threatens the closure of unsafe airlines


JAKARTA, AFP

Indonesia’s new air transport chief said that airlines revealed next week to have neglected safety standards will have three months to comply — or be closed down, a report said Sunday.

“In the three-month period, we will give the airlines the chance to improve their compliance with safety regulations,” Budhi Muliawan Suyitno was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post newspaper.

Suyitno has said that following a review of all commercial airlines operating in the country, the government would announce a new national rating system for airlines and that those at the bottom may be closed.

He said that the decision on whether to close down airlines would be made after the three months and based on complaints from consumers.

“We aim to secure zero-accident status within the next few years, something that has been achieved by the aviation industries of other countries,” Suyitno said.

“They operate the same type of planes, sometimes of the same age. If they can, why can’t we?,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Media Indonesia newspaper quoted an unnamed sources with the transport ministry as saying that the government was also planning to revoke the operation license on 11 airlines which have been inactive for months.

Public pressure for better safety in Indonesia’s skies has followed a string of recent air accidents, including a sea crash that left 102 dead and two crash landings, one killing 21 people.

Indonesia’s airline industry was deregulated in the 1990s, encouraging a slew of new operators to take to the skies and boosting huge passenger growth.

But confidence in air travel, which helps to bind the archipelago nation of 17,000 islands, has been shaken by the series of tragic incidents.

Indonesia has also suffered ferry disasters recently, with the total death toll running into hundreds.