Indonesian airlines may get EU reprieve

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The European Commission could allow four Indonesian airlines to fly to the EU from next month, lifting a ban that it imposed last year after a number of accidents, some of which were fatal, involving the country’s carriers.

Airfast Indonesia, Garuda Indonesia, Mandala Airlines and Premiair are likely to be the beneficiaries when officials from the EU and Indonesia meet next week, and the onus is now on them to raise the image of the country’s airlines.

There have been far too many safety lapses in Indonesia, although the country’s regulators are trying their best to improve that. A lot is at stake – the Indonesian airline business, the country’s reputation, and its tourism industry.

Indonesian airlines will continue to be closely monitored by the EU in the coming months. If these four prove to the EU that they can meet global safety standards, they would set the standard for other carriers and it would be a big boost to the Indonesian airline industry. If they fail, the repercussions could be devastating.

The ball is in their court.

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2 Responses to Indonesian airlines may get EU reprieve

  1. M Fadjar 25 June, 2009 at 3:54 pm #

    One must analyse carefully and read between the lines when discussing this matter.

    I fully agree that the Indonesian aviation safety record is appaling and needs immediate actions, and sometimes it helps to have international pressure such as EU to help accelerate the required improvements.

    However, it is also true that Indonesia is a huge untapped market for EADS & Airbus, since this region has been traditionally a Boeing / US customers. The biggest archipelago country in the world with 17,000 islands and 240 millions population is a ripe market for the European Aviation Industry,both military and civil.

    By imposing and dragging on the flying ban, EU is also indirectly shooting itself on the foot with regards to the economic potential of the region. So far, Garuda Indonesia, the flag carrier, has only 6 units of Airbuses (A330) on its fleet of around 60 aircrafts, and Mandala Airlines (resently resurrected private company and among the very few with serious management effort towards safety) has been complaining that the flying ban makes it more expensive for them to take delivery of their brand new single aisle Airbus 319/320 family since the planes will not be able to fly out of the Toulouse / Hamburg factory with Indonesian regsitration, hence yet more expenses for intermediate registration fee during this downturn.

    And let’s not forget the fact that it does not take a genius to figure out no customers will be interested to buy EU aircrafts while at the same time suffering from the economic impact of the ban (no Indoensian airlines currently fly to Europe but the ban has caused EU visitors to use competitors from neighbouring countries when visiting main cities in Indonesia).

    It is perhaps no surprise to learn that no flying ban is being imposed by the US authority on Indonesian airlines, and it is also interesting to learn that Boeing has scored a major sale with Lion Air group (almost 200 737-900ER and a further major order of 777s from Garuda)

    Once again we all support the EU initiatives and it is also in the interest of the 240 millions of Indonesians to have safer aviation industry, however, it is equally important to view this matter from all angles.

  2. Siva Govindasamy 25 June, 2009 at 4:32 pm #

    All very valid points, Fadjar. But the issue is also that the safety record is appaling, as you point out. Let’s just see if there is any improvement in the coming months. Indonesia’s airline industry has immense potential, given the population size and the demand. And it certainly has the potential to become one of the biggest in the region.

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