EU may lift ban on four Indonesian airlines in July

Singapore
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The European Commission could allow four Indonesian airlines to serve its members from July, partially lifting a blanket ban that it imposed in 2008 after a number of accidents involving the country's carriers.

Senior officials from Indonesia's Directorate General of Air Communications (DGAC) will travel to Brussels next week for talks, and the ban on Airfast Indonesia, Garuda Indonesia, Mandala Airlines and Premiair should be lifted as they have fulfilled most of the EU's criteria, says a DGAC official.

Garuda is Indonesia's national carrier, Mandala is a privately owned scheduled carrier, Airfast is a charter airline that does much of its work for western mining companies and Premiair is another charter airline that does corporate jet charters for European and US customers.

The European Commission issued the ban last June after Indonesia failed an ICAO safety audit, and asked the country to implement some of the 600 recommendations that ICAO put forward. These included having an independent regulator, improving rules governing airlines, and increasing the standard of its safety inspectors.

Indonesia has been taking steps to fulfil these criteria in order to get the EU ban lifted. Earlier this year, it suspended the air operator certificates (AOC) of five of the country's smaller airlines for failing a quarterly audit that is now conducts on airlines to ensure they fulfil safety standards.