Flight International online news 13:00GMT: Indonesia’s directorate general of air communication (DGAC) has issued a grounding order to two commercial pilots as an investigation continues into a 5 September incident in which they landed their passenger aircraft at the wrong airport in Padang.

The Wings Air Boeing MD-80-series aircraft was to have landed at Padang’s commercial airport, Minangkabau International Airport, but instead was flown to the old commercial airport, Tabing airport, which is now a military facility, says a senior Jakarta-based DGAC official involved in the investigation. Wings Air is a unit of Lion Air, Indonesia’s largest privately owned carrier.

Prior to landing the pilots sought clearance from air traffic control (ATC) in Minangkabau to land at Minangkabau airport, adds the official.

As yet, it is unknown why the pilots landed the aircraft at the wrong airport.

The aircraft was only on the ground at Tabing airport briefly before it was flown to Minangkabau airport, which is located a few miles away, he says.

DGAC responded by “issuing a premature grounding for 14 days” for the two pilots. “ After the 14-day grounding period passes the two pilots will still be prevented from operating aircraft because the DGAC has ordered them to undergo re-training.

Even though the DGAC official is adamant the pilots only had ATC approval to land at Minangkabau airport, Lion Air’s Jakarta-based spokesman, Hasyim Arsal Alhabsi, claims the pilots requested approval to land at the Tabing military airport.

Hasyim says the pilots did this because the “instrument landing system was not functioning too good” and weather conditions were “hazy” at the time.

Tabing airport’s runway was clearly visible but the Minangkabau airport runway was less so, he says.




Source: Flight International